How ‘Dangerous’ Donnie Marshall defied odds to pave his own lane as a pro boxer
Boxing is a gentleman’s sport. It is technical yet sometimes brutal and there is a sweet science to the game that makes it so hard to look away.
We are in awe of the footwork, the hand-speed and hand-eye coordination, the haymakers and the knockouts. Couple that with your brawlers and your tacticians and you have one of the most balanced glamour sports of all time. Not just anyone can step into the ring and trade blows either. You have to bet cut from a certain cloth.
It takes a fighter’s mentality to make it out of Buffalo, New York. No one knows this better than the 29-year-old boxing phenom “Dangerous” Donnie Marshall. Born and raised in Buffalo, he grew up in an athletic household. Football and basketball held prominence in the Marshall family but even though Donnie played football in school, boxing was always his first love.
Ever since Dangerous Donnie got his hands on some of his grandfather’s old boxing tapes, he’s been enamored by the sport ever since. Never actually boxing in the ring as a child, he found himself fighting.
In an interview with Kulture Hub, Donnie broke down his career, his mindset going into fights, and the tough upbringing that made him into the man he is today. The craziest part is that he almost never made it out of Buffalo. Donnie explained,
“Growing up in Buffalo was rough. I got shot when I was 16. I was fighting in the streets and in school. I had got into some trouble you know so I had the time to sit down and figure things out. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to. My mom used to always say ‘You better leave him alone he’s dangerous. You don’t want it with Donnie, he dangerous.’”
As his journey as a football player came to an end, he decided to follow his heart for his next career move. And that was following his grandfather’s footsteps and pursing boxing. He continued,
“I grew up playing football. By the time I was ready to box that was over. I started boxing when I was 20. I was just trying to figure things out you know? I didn’t know anything about it [boxing] but it made sense so I started. I was in out the gym before I got serious.”
It wasn’t until Dangerous Donnie found himself at the Paul Murphy Regional National Tournament in Atlanta, that he’d go on to eventually win, that made him want to take it to the next level.
Paired with Ross Thompson as his coach, a fellow Buffalo native who has fought for the world title, it was clear that the stars were aligning. This was a very pivotal moment in his career as Thompson’s mentorship and support built his confidence to a whole new level as Donnie explained to me,
“When I got with him, as someone who’s been at the top level as a professional and amateur you know, he had a lot of faith in me. He kinda made me feel like I can do it. I think it was more so that I got with my coach that I am with now that I came to be like ‘wow I can really do this if I put the effort into it.”
And Dangerous Donnie has been turning up ever since. He’s been relentless in the ring being too quick for opponents while possessing such poise and grace in the ring. Not even fighting with one arm could not stop the Dangerous one. He told me,
“My fight before my last fight [April 26], I went into the ring knowing I’m injured. My right arm was literally hanging but I knew I could beat the kid with my left hand so I wasn’t trippin. They suspended me afterwards and sent me to physical therapy for six weeks. It was cool. A real athlete is gonna strap up and is gonna figure it out.”
A healthy Donnie is certainly a Dangerous one. In his last bout, August 16th at the Durham Armory in North Carolina, he stopped his opponent in 2:35 seconds knocking his opponent’s shoulder out of place with a hook to the shoulder. It was a display of impeccable defense that is propelling him to the next level.
From my time speaking to Donnie Marshall, I learned that he is a family man and a true fighter. His humble, quiet demeanor is not to be slept on.
When he’s with his fam, they may be acting a fool and clowning around. But when he’s in the ring, he’s a whole different animal. He punches for his family, his children, and most importantly his legacy. He lastly told me,
“Now we are at the point in my life now where me and my son are walking into boxing rings together and people are screaming my name and his name. That’s 75%-80% of what I wanted to set out to do. I’ve already left a legacy and footprints to follow and footprints to follow. To me if I die today, what I’ve left for my kids to look up to means a lot.”
Dangerous Donnie will be making his television debut September 28th on ShoBox: The Next Generation. He’s made it point to carry the city of Buffalo on his back.