Fists of Dreams: The Immigrant Success Story of Dorrius Forde, by Immigration Attorney Christopher Helt

In the heart of Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, beneath the Manhattan Bridge, stands Gleason’s Gym—an iconic bastion where diverse dreams, both American and pugilistic, come alive. Since its inception in 1937, this historic gym has been a witness to the aspirations of individuals from various walks of life, echoing the spirit of the American dream.

Dorrius Forde (pictured above). Trainer of world champions, and the everyday person living the ‘American Dream’.

Photo Credit: Bruce Silverglade owner of Gleason’s Gym.

Gleason’s, proudly bearing the title of the oldest boxing gym in the U.S., is not just a training ground; it’s a living testament to the immigrant narrative that has helped build America. Dorrius Forde, a master boxing trainer born in Georgetown, Guyana, arrived in the United States in the 1980s, seeking a professional boxing career. Today, he nurtures dreams within Gleason’s, continuing a legacy that bridges continents.

(One of the “Fighting Ford” family members, Patrick Ford shown here with Muhammed Ali when Ali visited Guyana in 1979.)

A former professional boxer hailing from a family of Guyanese fighters, Forde’s journey embodies the quintessential immigrant story—perseverance, dedication, and the pursuit of the American dream. His roots intertwine with the rich history of Gleason’s Gym, a place where legends like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have left an indelible mark.

Forde’s sparring days with hall-of-famer Hector “Macho” Camacho and his current role as a trainer for Parkinson’s classes and charitable initiatives at Gleason’s highlight the ongoing saga of immigrants contributing to the boxing community and beyond.

(Mr. Forde, after a morning training session with this year’s Super Bowl LVIII halftime artist and R&B and Pop Icon “Usher”.)

Gleason’s Gym, often likened to a melting pot of champions, has historically played a pivotal role in the assimilation of immigrant communities. The gym’s roster reads like a multicultural tapestry, boasting champions such as Vito Antuofermo, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Saoul Mamby, Wilfred Benitez, and many more. Forde, with his Guyanese roots, adds another layer to this diverse narrative.

During training sessions under Forde’s guidance, visitors not only learn the art of boxing but also receive a captivating lesson in Guyanese boxing history—a testament to the diverse threads woven into the American fabric.

(A younger Mr. Forde with Chuck Norris at Gleason’s Gym in NYC.)

The interconnected narratives of boxing and American immigration come to life in the story of Dorrius Forde. Within the ring, the struggles faced by new immigrants momentarily fade away, providing a sanctuary where poverty, discrimination, and xenophobia take a back seat. For Forde, boxing serves as a vehicle for immigrants to earn respect and reverence.

(Mr. Forde giving the author instructions in between rounds.)

Living the American dream, according to Forde, demands hard work, respect, and dedication. As he imparts his wisdom to those he trains, the message is clear: Success in the boxing ring and in life requires unwavering commitment and self-respect.

Gleason’s Gym, under the guidance of Dorrius Forde, remains a beacon of the enduring legacy of immigrants shaping the American dream—one punch, one round at a time.

Photo Credit: The Helt Law Group

Dedicated to championing the rights of immigrants, Christopher Helt, Esq., mirrors the resilience and triumphs encapsulated in the narratives of successful immigrants. His unwavering commitment underscores the vital role of legal representation in safeguarding and perpetuating the American dream for all those who aspire to achieve it. As a distinguished deportation defense attorney, Helt stands as a beacon of support, ensuring that individuals facing immigration challenges are not only heard but also empowered to navigate their path toward a brighter future.