I decided to take a trip down to Horton’s gym one day before their amateurs were to have a public workout at Grandma’s Sports Garden in Duluth MN. One of the things I have noticed at past amateur boxing events was the great camaraderie visible between the fighters. Sometimes the word team gets lost among boxing fans, but to me it sure seems like a ton of teamwork goes into being a part of amateur boxing. This brings me back to my trip over to Horton’s to watch the final day before fightnight, as these young men prepare to showcase their skills.
I got to Horton’s at about 3:30 in the afternoon. I brought along workout gear to get a feel for what these guys were doing in prep for their bouts. At about 3:37, soaked with sweat, I decide its time to do my job, and take in what these guys were doing. There were guys jumping ropes, some shadow boxing, others hitting the heavy bags and hand pads. All of this is going on under the watchful eyes of several coaches including Gary Eyer.
Let me not forget to mention, the Pros were working out alongside these boxing hopefuls. I took particular interest in a couple of the younger athletes in the gym. There were two of them working on one of the heavy bags near me. To their good fortune, pros, Zach Walters and Andy Kolle, were finishing up their workouts, doing many rounds on the jump ropes. While doing things with the rope that would certainly cause me to be tied in a knot on the floor, Zach and Andy were giving these young men instruction on how to properly hit the bag and use movement. How cool that must be for these fellas. I continued to watch all of the guys doing their workouts for a while and then asked Gary and Chuck Horton when they would be setting up the ring at Grandmas. Turns out, after these guys were done going through their boxing workout they were off to grab a bite to eat at the Sports Garden, then set up the ring.
Now, if you haven’t watched a ring being put together, you would not guess the amount of teamwork that goes into getting it up and ready for action. I really want to mention, as boxers and coaches alike were taking the ring out of the trailer and sorting the pieces, there was no complaining. This sort of teamwork followed all the way through until the final rope was tightened and the corner pads put on.
To me, this is teamwork at its best. These guys workout together almost every day. They work to bring out the best in every fighter in the gym. This team attitude is no doubt built through the hard work and dedication one must have to be a boxer at any level. The great part for me as a boxing fan was to see how this hard work and teamwork translated to hard work and teamwork in a whole different avenue. They seemed to use the same ethic in working as a team to bring in and set up their working surface for the following night. Very cool stuff.
I asked a few of the amateurs about boxing at Horton’s gym. Here is what they had to say.
M…. “I want to ask you guys what its like working out at Horton’s gym?”
Jorey Olson….“The gym is very much a team, we push each other, whether by example or showing each other new stuff. You do get competitive in the gym but we push each other forward. One guy may be going crazy, working harder, and that just makes you want to work out that much harder yourself.
M…. “Do the professionals give pointers?”
Jorey Olson…. ” Yeah, all of the time. They have cleaned up my bad habits a lot.”
Rodney Rinas…. “Like Jorey said, its nice to have the pros there, they really help you when you’re messing up.”
M…. “Whats your favorite part about working out at Horton’s?”
Mike Monchamp…. “We got great coaches, really good pros. Everybody works together, you train hard and you are pretty much going to win your fight, you train harder than everyone else and you win.”
M…. “How long have you been boxing at Horton’s?”
Zach Cary…. “I have been there for a little over a month, I also was working out there this past summer.”
Winston Anderson….“Ive been boxing for about a year now. Its been a good experience at Horton’s. The concentration and their style and everything is really good, they teach you how to stay dedicated, stay fit and do what you got to do.”
M…. “Have you noticed if boxing has helped other aspects of your life?”
Winston Anderson….“It’s definitely got me calmer. It makes me think more. I think about decisions I may not want to make.”
Al Sands…. “Ive been boxing at Horton’s for just over a year now.”
M…. “What got you started in boxing?”
Al Sands…. “Zach Walters came over to my house and showed a highlight film and he asked me to come and check out the gym. I went in there the next Monday and have been there ever since.”
M…. “What boxers do you look up to?”
Al Sands…. “All of boxing is still kind of new to me. The only boxer Ive looked up to or even looked to as motivation is Zach Walters.”
I also caught up to the Amateur Coach Gary Eyer.
M…. “Could you tell me a little about coaching the amateurs at Horton’s gym?”
Gary Eyer….“That’s a big question.”
M…. “Tell me about the teamwork, like setting up the ring before the fights.”
Gary Eyer…. “This is like a tradition. Setting the ring up the day of the fight or the day before is tradition. Ive been doing it since I was 15.”
M…. “How long have you been coaching?”
Gary Eyer…. “Just recently. But I was always the person that if a new guy came in, they were with me. And its been that way for a long long time and I like it. Its fun too.”
There will be much more from Gary in the next few weeks. We will be talking to him about his big fight on the undercard of “Andy Kolle vs Anthony Bonsante”.
Many of these same guys will be testing their skills against each other in tonight’s event, but mark my words, when the fights are through and these guys are back at the gym, the team will be working to continue to make everyone better boxers as well as people.
“I’m fairly certain Todd was winded after changing clothes, 7 minutes is probably stretching it for him.” Bear