As one of boxingâ€™s most successful trainers, Joe Lake has helped his professional boxers earn many championship belts.
Lake now has a belt to cherish in another discipline: the martial arts. After 17 years of study under Professor Andre â€œDedecoâ€ Almeida, Lake just received his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Lakeâ€™s journey to the Black Belt level took determination, fortitude, and resiliency. In 2014 Lake had a bout with cancer and had to take a year off from jiu-jitsu. He suffered a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the pulmonary arteries) in 2017 and has battled a slew of injuries along the way.
â€œBrazilian jiu-jitsu is a very physical undertaking,â€ said Lake, who is the clerk of the works in the Revere DPW. â€œThey call it the gentle art, but itâ€™s a lot of hard work.â€
Lake, 65, gave a strong signal that he was back on the trail when he earned a silver medal in the Master VI Brown Belt Division at the 2018 IBJJF World Championships in Las Vegas.
Lake, who stands 6-feet, 2 inches tall and competes in the 205-pound division, had a relatively late start in jiu-jitsu. â€œI was 48 years old when I started, but jiu-jitsu was something I wanted to do,â€ said Lake. â€œItâ€™s been a long, tough road, but Iâ€™ve had a great teacher in Professor Dedeco, whoâ€™s helped me attain all my belts (White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black).â€
Lake, who trains in jiu-jitsu three times a week, also credits Bob Judge for helping him to ascend to the Black Belt level. â€œBob has been my No. 1 training partner,â€ said Lake. â€œHe was a Division 1 wrestler at Bucknell University. Heâ€™s a second-degree Black Belt who has also studied under Professor Dedeco.â€
Lake is now doing his jiu-jitsu training at Combat Sports Boston in the North End. At that facility, Lake is also coaching Beksod Abdurakhmonov, an Olympic bronze medalist in wrestling and undefeated MMA fighter from Uzbekistan, who is hoping to qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Lake gained fame in the squared circle as the trainer for middleweight champion â€œDangerousâ€ Dana Rosenblatt of Malden, professional boxer and MMA competitor Marcus Davis, and Joe Rogan, host of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Lake also worked with â€œIrishâ€ Mickey Ward, for whom the movie, â€œThe Fighterâ€ is based.
Lake is now being acknowledged for his own achievements in jiu-jitsu, something in which he takes immense personal pride.
â€œThere were some times when I wanted to give up, itâ€™s that hard of a sport,â€ said Lake. â€œBut I just kept working hard, and Iâ€™m honored to hold a Black Belt. I really want to thank all my training partners over the years.â€
Lake has his sights firmly on his next goal in jiu-jitsu.
â€œIâ€™m still rolling three times a week and Iâ€™m training for the 2024 world championship in Vegas,â€ he said.