A 2004 Sun Journal file photo of Ryan Gamache, right, before he made his professional boxing debut at the Multi-Purpose Center in Lewiston. His uncle Joey Gamache Jr., middle, promoted the fight. Joe Gamache Sr., left, began the Gamache Boxing Club in the basement of the Lewiston Armory nearly 40 years ago. (Sun Journal file photo by Russ Dillingham)

In the early hours of a recent morning, a punch from an unknown assailant left Joey Gamache, a former two-time world boxing champion from Lewiston, with a broken jaw.

Gamache was walking Jan. 11 with a friend to the Mendez Boxing gym on 26th Street in New York City, where he works as a boxing trainer. He was blindsided.

“He came from the back somehow and hit me with a shot on the chin, and broke my jaw in two or three places,” Gamache said in a phone interview Saturday.

His injuries were extensive, he said.

“My mouth has a lot of metal, a titanium plate,” he said. “It’s pretty wired up. I’m lucky that it wasn’t a gun or a knife. I could have been killed.” 

He said the man who struck him should be considered dangerous.

“The guy’s still out there,” Gamache said. “We gotta get this guy. This could happen to somebody else, somebody that’s not used to getting blindsided, or hit like that. I grew up in boxing, so it’s a little bit of a different story. Fighting’s been a big part of my life, but I usually get to see (my opponent). Here, I didn’t.”

Gamache only got a glimpse of his attacker. After Gamache was knocked down, he turned to get a look as the attacker ran away. Gamache said he looked to be around 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds.

Gamache said he’s been pushing the authorities to find the man.

“It’s New York City, the mecca of the world,” he said. “Of course there are crimes that are considered worse. It doesn’t mean my incident is going to be a priority, but we’re pushing and trying to find this guy,” Gamache said.

He said the punch, and the damage it caused, points to someone with knowledge of boxing.

“To land that kind of shot is very unusual, especially if you’re a street guy and you’re running fast. It doesn’t add up,” he said.” I’m an easy-going guy. I don’t have enemies, but one way or another this guy came out of nowhere. I’m not sure what he was looking to do. It could have been a random attack, it could have been set up, it could have been anything.” 

Gamache ended his professional boxing career with 55 wins, four losses and 36 knockouts. He said  that after leaving Maine, he traveled to Europe, where he trained high-level boxers for five years before settling in New York.

Gamache said he returns to Maine frequently to visit his family and to help his father train prospects at the Gamache Boxing Club on Central Avenue in Lewiston.

He said he can’t wait to get back to training, but his injuries require him to lay low and recover before he can get back in the ring.

“I’m not somebody to stay down,” he said. “I’m going to get up, and move forward. It’s what I do. Resting is not so easy, but I’ll be back before I know it.”

 

Joey Gamache Jr. poses for photographers during his press conference at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland prior to defending his WBA lightweight title against Tony “The Tiger” Lopez in 1992. Gamache lost the fight in an 11th-round TKO. (Sun Journal file photo)

Photo by maine.gov