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When you hear the phrase Bronx, you probably have pictures in mind of the ghettos in New York. However, recently, that nickname is more and more associated with a man born in the . Those favelas are also nicknamed “Bronx”. The man is Charles Oliveira.
Raised in poverty in the neighborhood of Guaruja, São Paulo, Charles’ humble beginnings led him to be part of Brazil’s workforce very early in life. As a child, he often helped his mother sell cheese salads from a trailer. It was a difficult upbringing, but through this line of work he met and made friends with a few kids who trained jiu-jitsu.
Charles started training at around 12 years old, when those friends invited him to train at a local grappling academy. Although Oliveira’s guardians could not afford Charles’s tuition, his uncle, Paulo, knew the instructor and intervened on his behalf so the young man could train on a scholarship-type status.
Charles got the nickname “do Bronx” translating to “from Bronx”, since he trained in a gym that was also called “Bronx”. But, the nickname stuck after one of his first professional fights in Brazil, where “Charles Oliveira” wouldn’t do.