From the Ring to the Courtroom: Joey Gilbert

Joey Gilbert, Professional Boxer

His nose was disfigured, but there were still seven rounds to go. His entire body was wet with sweat, his face covered in blood and he could see the fire behind his opponents eyes. Another blow to the head, and for the first time the ring was foggy, he was disoriented and attempted to shake it off, but his head continued to pound. The urge to throw up was building; he was still on unsteady legs.

For the first time in his career, he looked at the ref and said, “I’m done.” Joey Gilbert’s boxing career ended that night, Sept. 25, 2010. Gilbert himself described this night as the night his “spirit horse for fighting rode out of his body.”

Gilbert’s tenacious and intense personality is what made his boxing career so successful, but also made the end of it so surprising. At the age of 39, he has translated his tenacity for boxing into his career as an attorney in Reno. He is a man who never gives up, a man who is overflowing with passion, a man who has used his hardships to make him a better person.

Gilbert had to prioritize, which is why he decided to end his boxing career when he did. Keeping his daughter his number one priority, he decided that boxing wasn’t worth risking his life anymore, and he knew he still could make something of himself outside of the boxing ring.

Originally, Gilbert said, he wanted to follow in his adopted father’s footsteps and become a doctor, but after passing out at the sight of blood, he realized he didn’t have the stomach for it. In boxing he learned to never give up, even when he was hurting. He translated this into his career choice, deciding to complete his bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Political Science at the University of Nevada, Reno and get his Law degree in San Diego.

Starting from nothing, he created his own practice in Reno as soon as he could. Joey explains that he was initially attracted to the idea of becoming an attorney because of the opportuinites for self-improvement the profession provides.

“There are no ceilings to be put on a law degree, and I never wanted to be held down,” said Gilbert. He wanted to be able to always improve and expand his career, which his law degree allows just that.

His mental drive is evident in all aspects of his life now, just as much as it was when he was in the ring. Some may think his tenacity is “annoying”, Gilbert jokes, but to him, he wouldn’t be even close to where he is now if he didn’t work as hard as he does, or without his persistence. The majority of his success as an attorney can be accredited to his own personal drive.