Lewiston native Joey Gamache, right, with Swedish heavyweight boxer Otto Wallin, who Gamache has been training for the past decade. Wallin fights Helaman Olguin on Friday at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham, New Hampshire. Photo courtesy of Joey Gamache

It’s been almost 23 years since the fight that ended Joey Gamache’s boxing career and changed his life, but the Lewiston native is still very much involved in the sport, living in New York City and training the next generation of boxers.

“I started in boxing at 9 years old. I’m 56 now. It’s been good to me in a lot of ways. Being a trainer, it’s good,” said Gamache in a recent phone interview from Mendez Boxing Gym in Manhattan, where he’s training heavyweight contender Otto Wallin. “I feel like being in New York, it’s a great location. It’s a great opportunity, with great contacts. New York offers a lot.”

Gamache won World Boxing Association world titles as a super featherweight in 1991 and as a lightweight in 1992. In Wallin, a 6-foot-5 32-year-old heavyweight from Sweden, Gamache sees a fighter who has the potential to join him as a world champion.

“He’s improving constantly,” Gamache said of Wallin. “He’s a hard worker. He’s a southpaw, but has a strong right hand, too. He has good footwork.”

Wallin is scheduled to fight Helaman Olguin on Friday at the Castleton Banquet and Conference Center in Windham, New Hampshire. This is Wallin’s first fight since May 26, when he earned a unanimous decision over Rydell Booker. Gamache will be in Wallin’s corner.

Otto Wallin, left, punches heavyweight champion Tyson Fury during their boxing match on Sept. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. Wallin lost a unanimous decision, but opened a cut over Fury’s right eye that took 47 stiches to close. Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

Wallin is 24-1 in his career, the lone loss via unanimous decision to heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Sept. 19, 2019, in Las Vegas. While Wallin lost the fight on all three judges’ cards, he left Fury with a souvenir – a cut over the champ’s right eye in the third round that required 47 stitches to close. Wallin is ranked 17th of 1,340 heavyweights in the world, according to boxrec.com, and while he’d like another shot at Fury, he’s not sure Fury is eager for a rematch.


“I don’t think (Fury) has mentioned my name once since we fought,” Wallin said.

For Gamache, training boxers is a second act that he almost didn’t get. His final fight, against Arturo Gatti on Feb. 26, 2000, at Madison Square Garden, nearly killed him. Gatti arrived for the fight weighing approximately 160 pounds, well over the agreed to 141-pound limit. Gatti won with a knockout in the second round, and Gamache was on the canvas for seven long minutes before leaving the ring, then spent two days in the hospital. In a lawsuit against the New York State Athletic Commission that went to court in 2010, Gamache testified that he suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the fight, and battled depression and severe migraines.

Joey Gamache lands on the ropes after getting knocked down during what would be his final boxing match, a junior welterweight fight against Arturo Gatti on Feb. 26, 2000, at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

At the trial in Albany, New York, Judge Melvin Schweitzer ruled that while the commission failed to weigh Gatti correctly before the fight, it did not cause the knockout in the bout.

Gamache said he doesn’t dwell on the violent way his boxing career ended.

“After the Gatti fight, early on it was a bit difficult, getting it out of my thinking. As time went on, I no longer thought of it. I’m blessed to be here and doing something I love, training fighters,” Gamache said.

Wallin and Gamache met in the spring of 2013 in Denmark, when Gamache was living in Europe and training fighters there. At the time, Wallin had just two professional fights under his belt, and was looking for a trainer who would help him take the next step in his career.


“We clicked, and we’ve been together ever since,” Wallin said. “He’s been at the top level. He knows how to work on the basics, footwork, movement. He knows the game all around, and that’s important.”

What Wallin likes about Gamache’s training style is his calm demeanor. In a sport that by definition is loud and frantic, Gamache stays level-headed, Wallin said.

“He doesn’t talk a lot. He says what’s necessary,” Wallin said. “He’s a calm person and he brings that in fights.”

Wallin also appreciates Gamache’s attention to detail.

“I wasn’t used to one-on-one training before I met Joey. His best advice is, keep it basic. You don’t have to do flashy stuff. Do the work in the gym and take things seriously,” Wallin said.

Olguin, Friday’s opponent, is 9-4-1 in his pro career. Olguin hasn’t fought since a knockout loss to Terrell Jamal Woods on Aug. 14, 2021, in Salt Lake City. A scheduled fight against Roney Hines was canceled in December.


“(Olguin) is the kind of guy, you can’t sleep on him,” Gamache said.

It was just over four years ago, on Jan. 19, 2019, when Gamache was mugged on the street while walking with a friend to Mendez Boxing Gym on 26th Street in Manhattan. The assailant blindsided Gamache, breaking his jaw. Now, fully recovered, Gamache shrugs off the incident.

“All those years of fighting, it keeps you in shape for real life,” Gamache said.

Real life comes at you fast. Right now, Gamache is enjoying it.

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