Like Oscar: How Fulghum Is Inspired By Promoter De La Hoya

Darius Fulghum has a passion for boxing.

The prospect, new to Golden Boy, has turned down the financial stability of his career in nursing to chase his dream.

Fulghum succeeded at the trials for the 2020 Olympic Games as the eighth seed. He fought at heavyweight, but has moved down to super middleweight as a professional. Yet it was his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, who recently inspired him before his fight – a majority decision victory over Alantez Fox.

“A big thing for me is inspiring and trying to empower kids, and seeing [Oscar De La Hoya] just do that, seeing how he was doing that,” said the jubilant Fulghum. “I said to myself, ‘I was doing this all wrong’. These are little kids – sometimes words aren’t enough. It is in one ear and out the other. I got to see Oscar really empower these kids bringing them up, letting them hold the belt – making them feel like a champion.”

“It made me feel really good inside to see that. I remember that day there was a kid who came up to talk to me. This kid, she was having a lot of confidence issues. She was asking how I became so confident in myself. Seeing how Oscar empowered the kids, and how he inspired young people – it really impressed me. It was one of my favorite experiences from fight week.”

Fulghum studied to be a nurse. Helping others ultimately seems to be his calling – even given his present occupation involves him hurting his opponents. He succeeded at the Olympics trials, and then the Covid pandemic hit, and he was unable to qualify for Tokyo 2020 under the new criteria.

His commitment to his education limited his ability to go to national tournaments and to focus on fighting. He also almost dreaded “clinicals”, the hands-on instruction with a supervisor that is a major part of each course and the nursing program.

“The entire time while I was boxing I was in school,” Fulghum reflected. “When I won national Golden Gloves my schedule just [opened up] enough where I was able to go [to the Olympic Trials]. When I was in school I couldn’t go to these week-long tournaments. I had clinicals I had to go to. If I miss a clinicals, I fail the program.”

Fulghum, 27, is 10-0 with 9 KOs, and he resides in Houston, Texas. His fight with Fox was his first to go to the scorecards. It was also the first scheduled ten-rounder of his career.

During a routine visit to the Boys and Girl Club, before the fight between Jaime Munguia and John Ryder, he saw De La Hoya inspire others and realized he wants to do the same. Fulghum appears to want to position himself not just for a title, not just riches, but to be someone who, given his status in boxing, can be a person to make a difference.

“[Helping others] is a big part of my journey,” he said. “I am still trying to get to the position where I can do that myself. I want to help my community here in Houston – that is a big thing I want to be a part of, because I know so many people need help.”

Fulghum, who at times talks like a self-help coach, goes by the moniker “DFG”. He proclaims that that means “destined for greatness”.

“I always felt it deep inside me, that I knew I could be great at something,” he said. “I went to a new high school. I kind of turned my life around – I really found purpose. The big thing through the journey is simply believe in yourself.”