By Ryan Maquiñana
Terrell Gausha is thrilled to be entering the professional ranks Friday night in Indio, Calif., as part of Showtime’s “Night of the Olympians” card at the Fantasy Springs Casino. Earlier this week, however, his mind was on his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, for the presidential election.
“I was definitely calling home all day to stay updated with everything,” said Gausha, who mailed an absentee ballot from his Southern California training camp. “In fact, I was stressing out that I wasn’t going to be able to get my vote out there, but I got it done, and I’m glad that’s over with.”
Ohio became the most pivotal battleground of the election last Tuesday, with both candidates feverishly campaigning for its favor. Ultimately, the state’s auto parts industry became a fulcrum upon which voters like Gausha made their decisions.
“My mom retired after working at Chrysler for 32 years,” Gausha said. “It was a great job, and we were just fortunate that she was able to pay bills and take care of us all those years growing up.”
With Election Day out of the way, the heavy-handed middleweight will now shift his focus from swing states to swing bouts. The 2012 Olympian’s first foe at the next level is fellow Ohioan Dustin Caplinger (2-3, 1 KO) of Chillicothe.
“I’ve been waiting for a long time for this moment, and it’s finally here,” Gausha said. “The expectations are high, and I expect a lot out of myself. I’m more anxious to finally get in the ring than nervous. I think the Olympics prepared me for a big stage like Showtime to make my debut. When I’m in the ring though, I shut out everything else and it’s just me and my opponent.”
Gausha first turned heads on a mainstream stage in London, when he dramatically stopped Armenia’s Andranik Hakobyan as time ran out in their preliminary round matchup. Unfortunately, his run would abruptly end one bout later in a close, controversial points defeat to India’s Vijender Singh.
“I have a big right hand, and now that we have lighter gloves, I can do more damage to opponents,” Gausha said. “It’s different from Olympic scoring, which is all about pitty-pat punches, but I’ve been working with my trainer Manny Robles on approaching this with a different mindset. In the pros, one punch can change everything.”
As a result, he turned pro and now finds himself in a position to do for his four-year-old daughter Ty’era what his mother did for so many years back in Cleveland.
“I definitely want to be a world champion and be successful financially enough to be able to really take care of my family,” Gausha said. “Now I’m the one putting food on the table. This is my job now. I have to put it all out there.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.