Comeback Kids: 2 LIers punch back after near-death experiences with help from boxing trainer

Lorenzo Thomas doesn't get around as well as he used to. Eight years ago, he was shot in the head in Hempstead. Doctors said he was critical and weren't sure if he'd make it.

News 12 Staff

Mar 26, 2021, 2:28 AM

Updated 1,204 days ago

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Two lives have been brought together by two horrific events, one uplifting video and one boxing trainer with a never-say-die attitude.
Lorenzo Thomas doesn't get around as well as he used to. Eight years ago, he was shot in the head in Hempstead. Doctors said he was critical and weren't sure if he'd make it.
But Thomas pulled through. Years later, he met boxing trainer Mike Corleone, of Kayo Boxing in West Hempstead. The two got to work.
"The joy that it brought me to see the glow on this gentleman's face -- really, there are no words to express," says Corleone.
Corleone's way of expressing the inspirational story came through posting an Instagram video of Thomas boxing. It racked up hundreds of thousands of views and led to many people contacting him.
"I didn't really mean for it to blow up like that, but it's good to inspire others," says Thomas.
Thomas' video not only inspired thousands worldwide, but it also hit particularly close to home for a family on Long Island.
On Jan. 12, 2016, Donny Maldonado was hit by a car, suffered a traumatic brain injury, ruptured spleen, broken bones and was in a coma for two months. At that time, Donny's father Matt Maldonado could never imagine he would be boxing with his son again.
But over the years, Donny slowly improved, and when he saw the video of Thomas, the father-son duo was ready to get back in the ring.
With both of them fighting a similar battle, their parents met for the first time this week.
"It's heart-warming to see your son doing the same thing like Lorenzo. And that Lorenzo is an inspiration to him," says Stacey Tucker, Thomas' mother.
"I am truly touched," says Corleone, through tears. "I'm truly touched that I'm able to do what I'm able to do for some of these people."
Lorenzo and Donny continue to train at Kayo Boxing Gym in Hempstead as they both try and get stronger and more independent.


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