Jungle Boy Boxing – Night at the Garden


November 14 marked the end of the boxing season at Jungle Boy Boxing with 6 intriguing fights.

The night of November 14, featuring 6 intriguing fights, marked the end of the boxing season for Jungle Boy Boxing.

Tonight marks the end of the season for Jungle Boy boxing, and it ended with some fantastic amateur boxing. Six amateur fights were scheduled, and the first to kick off the action was Shaquille Hall vs. Jackson Knapp, the win going to Shaquille Hall by unanimous decision; the fight was very evenly matched, but Shaquille held on for the win.  Next up was Jungle Boy boxer Evan Wrazidlo fighting Jackson Berscheid, the winner being Jackson Berscheid with a flurry of blows in the third round pushing him over the top. The next up was another Jungle Boy boxer, Jesse Walters going against Alex Cantu; this fight belonged to Jesse Walters with his excellent control of the fight, and fighting instinct.  

The fourth fight in the amateur division featured two strong female boxers, Jessica Maltez vs. Kim Putzier. The night belonged to Jessica Maltez, with great jab work, and not giving an inch to her opponent. The fifth fight of the night was between Avery Miller and Victor Hernandez, with Victor Hernandez taking the fight. The sixth and last amateur fight of the night was between Christian Sanchez and Joe James, the winner here was Joe James, with James taking a savage low blow in the second round, James shook that off to finish the fight very strongly.

The co-main event was between Herald Calderon and Damien “Wolverine” Hill. This fight was Herald Calderon’s from start to finish; his unrelenting attack kept Hill off balance the entire fight, and Hill unable to mount any type of counter offensive.   

Jonathan “Jonny Blaze” Perez vs. Antwan “Lil Superman” Robertson

Jonathan “Jonny Blaze” Perez vs. Antwan “Lil Superman” Robertson

Now the main event of the evening, featuring a bout for the Minnesota bantamweight championship between, Jonathan “Jonny Blaze” Perez vs. Antwan “Lil Superman” Robertson. The fight was very one sided, Jonny blaze came out with cool determination, and had Lil superman on the run the entire fight. Every round went to Jonny blaze, but in the minute between the third and forth round; the doctor was called to Robertson’s corner, it had seemed that Robertson had broke his hand in a errant jab that struck Jonny blaze’s elbow, causing him to fracture hit right hand (commonly known as a boxer’s break.) This was the end of the fight, as Robertson could not continue, making Jonathan Perez the new Minnesota bantamweight champion. 

After the fight, Chuck Horton went to check up on the fighter, and his hand had swollen to twice its normal size. In a post fight interview Chuck Horton stated this “If Antwan had been having hand problems in the past, and has now a broken hand, it should be that “Lil Superman” should not get into the ring before it is 100% healed, it is not fair to him, his opponent, or even his hand. ” Chuck Horton also went on to say, “Look, we all try to be healthy, but if it should heal…he could try again.”

 Author: Matthew Thiry


Ringside Doc’ is Thankful for the Seat at the Table

Sitting ringside amidst what may appear to be complete chaos and calamity, Dr. Don Muzzi feels deprived of many of his senses.  During and between rounds he gets mere seconds to make a decision whether or not a fighter should continue.  Many people would not be able to respond when faced with this pressure.  Muzzi reacts swiftly, relying on experience and instinct.

Dr. Muzzi, a former wrestler,

Dr. Muzzi, a former wrestler, is one of twelve certified ringside doctors in the world.

A few years ago Muzzi, a neuroanesthesiologist at Essentia Health in Duluth, Minnesota, was recruited to be a ringside physician by then-pro boxer Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters.  Muzzi, a former competitive wrestler, gladly attended a few matches put on by local promoter Chuck Horton.  The doctor realized that medically there was a lot going on at the events and began to study the medical aspects of boxing, eventually joining the Association of Ringside Physicians.  

His commitment doesn’t stop at the end of the match.  Muzzi has worked with the ARP and the American College of Sports Medicine to establish an exam and certification for ringside physicians.  He is also on the medical task force for the Minnesota Office of Combative Sports.  His goal is to help set the standards in combative sports, improve the quality of care, and most of all to protect the athletes.  

One of the changes made to pro boxing is a reduction in the typical number of bouts a fighter will experience.  This has helped to bring down the level of deteriorating brain function in professional boxers to around 20%.  In discussing medical concerns amongst boxers, Muzzi is quick to point out that concussions, though very serious, are not the only worry.  Over time the repeated blows to the head may lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, leaving the athlete with memory loss, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, movement disorders and eventually dementia.

Muzzi also notes that concussions are more prevalent in other contact sports such as hockey or football.  The key to keeping the boxers safe, he feels, is monitoring the number of blows to the head.  The ringside doctor must be attentive and stop the fight when necessary, since 95% of concussions in the ring do not involve the fighter being knocked out.

Given the background many of the fighters come from, Muzzi feels these gyms are not just teaching boxing, they are leading young athletes to a more productive life.  By keeping these kids off the streets and in the gym, they’re steering away from less than desirable activities.  “Boxing has given them an outlet, something to do.  It is teaching them discipline both physically and mentally.”

The match between Sands and Kilfian was one of the bloodiest Muzzi has ever seen.

The match between Sands and Kilfian was one of the brutal Muzzi has ever seen.

It was that type of determination that Muzzi witnessed at his favorite ringside moment.  This past June at Grandma’s Sports Garden in Duluth, Al “The Haitian Temptation” Sands was favored against Harley “The Sandman” Kilfian in one of the most brutal matches Muzzi has seen.  With a USA Minnesota cruiserweight title on the line, both fighters were exhausted and hurt.  “They dug down and found some inner strength that they didn’t know they had.  It wasn’t a boxing match anymore, it turned into a fight.”

Muzzi cleared both fighters between the seventh and eighth rounds, leading to Sands’ getting the knockout in the eighth.  Although he had seen over six hundred fights, the doctor watched with tears in his eyes as it ended.  The match concluded around eleven that night, but he stayed with the boxers until after one that morning when he finally released them to others who would take them home and observe them for the rest of the night.

On Tuesday, November 4th, Muzzi will take his place on the fifteen-member board for the Association of Ringside Physicians.  He brings with him the distinction of being one of only twelve certified ringside docs in the world.  He finds the appointment flattering.  “These are the best patients I’ve ever come across.  When I patch them up and they look up at me and say, ‘Thanks, Doc’, it is both humbling and satisfying.  It is absolutely priceless.  Plus I have the best seat in the house!”

Congratulations and carry on, Doc Muzzi, carry on indeed.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes

A Chance Encounter Leads to a Great Opportunity

Let me take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Mike Lufholm and I am an amateur photographer residing in Minneapolis, MN. I grew up in Hermantown, MN and moved to the Twin Cities about five years ago for work. I am a frequent visitor to the northland and try to make it up north as often as possible to visit family, friends, and the beautiful landscape.

On a recent visit to Duluth I had some time to kill, so I grabbed my camera gear and headed to my favorite scenic overlook to shoot some photos. As I pulled up to the park, I heard a guy yelling very loudly and being verbally abusive to a young woman. It seemed as if the man was on drugs and he continued to get more and more out of control. The woman seemed scared and it looked like she was trying to get away from him. I kept a close eye on the situation and decided that I should probably notify the police if he continued. At that moment a gentleman, after hearing all of the commotion, came out of a nearby building to see what was going on. He asked me, “Do you know that knucklehead?!?” I quickly responded, “No sir, but I am getting ready to call the police on him if he continues to get out of control!”

He walked back to the building and yelled for a couple of other guys to come out and further investigate the situation. I held off on calling the police. It seemed like these guys would be able to deescalate the man’s behavior. After an unsuccessful attempt to try to calm the man down, the three guys came back over to me and told me it’d be necessary to notify the police, so I made the call.

Chuck Horton and his friends came to the rescue of a girl in need.

– Mike Lufholm- Chuck Horton and his friends came to the rescue of a girl in need.

I proceeded to go about my business and started unloading my camera gear. The first gentleman I spoke to came over to my car to thank me for calling the police and told me,  “We don’t need that type of stuff around here.” The man introduced himself and told me his name was Chuck Horton. The name rang a bell. He noticed my camera gear and asked if I was a photographer. I responded, “Photography is my hobby and I just like doing it for fun.” He asked to see some of my work and proceeded to tell me that he’d just been talking to the other guys about finding a photographer for an upcoming event they were hosting. I showed him some photos on my phone and he seemed very impressed, inviting me into the building to introduce me to the other guys. The building was a boxing gym and the other two guys he wanted to introduce me to were Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters and Al “The Haitian Temptation” Sands. I don’t follow boxing too closely, but I had heard of all three of them before and knew they were all very well-respected in the boxing community.

Normally, I turn down freelance photo gigs. I have a full-time job and it pays the bills. The time I get to spend shooting photos is like therapy to me, it is my passion and I have been careful to keep it as a hobby. I am just not interested in shooting the typical photos that most photographers shoot, i.e. weddings, senior photos, family portraits, etc. But the event they spoke of was nothing like those thing —  it included blood, sweat, and raw emotion. All of which caught my attention and seemed like something that’d be fun to shoot. It really seemed like something I wanted to do, so I agreed to shoot their upcoming boxing event at Black Bear Casino. I exchanged information with them and headed out on my way.

The next morning, I received a phone call from Chuck. He was excited to have me on-board to shoot the event and we reflected on how strange the events were that lead us to cross paths. Keeping the community safe and free of riffraff is an important thing to Chuck. He explained how he is currently devoting his time to make a positive impact on his community by giving free self-defense classes to women and young teens in order  to raise awareness about domestic violence in the northland. It all seemed like something I wanted to get behind and help out in any way that I could. He booked me a suite for the upcoming boxing match that was to take place on October 25th, where Al “The Haitian Temptation” Sands would be squaring up against Andres “Taylor Made” Taylor in the headline fight.

Fast-forward two weeks and I was on my way back up north to document my first boxing match. My job was to capture the emotions that went on behind the scenes in the locker room as Al Sands prepared for the headline fight. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, because I’d never done anything like this before.

I was greeted in the hotel lobby by Zach Walters. He showed me around the building and handed me a pass that allowed me to go anywhere I wanted in the building to shoot photos. After giving me the timeline of how the night was going to go, he sent me on my way to start snapping photos.

- Mike Lufholm - Zach Walters helps prepare Al Sands for his upcoming match.

– Mike Lufholm- Zach Walters helps prepare Al Sands for his upcoming match.

Al Sands arrived to the locker room a few hours before the main event and started prepping for the fight to which he had dedicated months of training. It was an intense experience to see what goes on behind the scenes as Al physically and mentally prepared himself for battle. Zach Walters and Chuck Horton accompanied him the entire time, offering him words of wisdom and reminding him of different training techniques that they had practiced. Al spent a lot of time meditating and listening to music to get him in the zone. As time passed and got closer to the time of the fight, the anticipation continued to grow. Al kept having bursts of energy and was reminded by his trainers to save his energy for the time of the fight. Boxing truly is an art that requires just enough movement to loosen up the body without burning yourself out before going into the ring. Even though it is an individual sport, it requires a team of people to help prepare the individual.

- Mike Lufholm - Al Sands in the ring

– Mike Lufholm- Al Sands in the ring

During the time of preparation, Chuck told a story and I heard him mention that he had over 18 years of sobriety under his belt. I myself am a recovering alcoholic and just celebrated my second year of sobriety a couple of months ago. Al chimed in, “That’s awesome man, I am sober too! We’re all sober here!” All of us in the room were sober, yet very lifted because we were actively pursuing our passions. Photography has been my main support since I made the decision to quit drinking. It’s always there if I needed to escape reality for a bit. I am sure the same goes for them and boxing.

Zach taped up Al’s hands and Chuck worked on a few different exercises with him. He changed into his boxing wardrobe and was ready to step into the ring. All of the time spent training in the gym lead to these final moments of preparation before the fight. His entrance music was cued up and the opening fights of the night were complete. I could tell that Al had flipped a switch and it was ready for showtime. The laughs and smiles they shared before the fight were over. Now was the time to get concentrated and in the zone.

- Mike Lufholm- Al Sands edges out Andres Taylor in a 10 round bout

– Mike Lufholm- Al Sands edges out Andres Taylor in a 10 round bout.

The match up was a good one. The two fighters ended up going all ten rounds, both delivering some good punches. At the end of the 10th round, the crowd awaited the final decision from the judges.

The announcer came over the speaker and announced that after a unanimous decision (96/92), Al “The Haitian Temptation” Sands was the winner of the fight.

After Al and his team celebrated with the crowd, they returned back to the locker room and Al was checked by the medics. He was wearing a permeant smile the entire time. After Al was given some time to get some food in his body, he was interviewed by a local news station. All of the hard work they had spent over the past several months paid off.

- Mike Lufholm -After months of preparation, Al Sands efforts prove victorious once again.

– Mike Lufholm- After months of preparation, Al Sands efforts prove victorious once again.

Once all of the people started clearing out of the locker room after the fight, Chuck Horton invited their opponent and his team into their locker room to have a chat. I was extremely impressed with how much class both men and their teams showed. These two guys were just in a ring trying to knock each other out, and now they are sharing handshakes and hugs, sitting next to each other having a civil conversation. That is the part of a boxing match that most people don’t get to see. It truly is a form of art.

I’d like to thank Chuck Horton, Zach Walters, and Al Sands for giving me the opportunity to go behind the scenes and document an incredible experience. I have a newfound respect and admire all of the hard work that these guys put into their passion. I hope to continue to help them with other events down the road.

Author: Mike Lufholm

In State Match Ups, and Why It’s not the Best for the Sport

In state match ups can be a great marketing tool for promoters. Fans get to see great matches almost every time, but these matches may not be the best for our sport in the long run. There is a limited number of pro boxers in Minnesota and an even smaller number of them that have the opportunity to make it big on the world scene, or even the national scene. In the end the boxer makes his own choice on who he fights, but it’s usually a manager’s job to direct the boxer on his mission to get the most out of his career.

You want to know why Vanda vs Bonsante and Ladoux vs Bobick were such big fights? It’s because they met in the ring when their careers had matured. These matches produced a huge turnout to watch the showdown and the boxers have been adored by boxing fans for years after for being a part of such a big show.  Promoters want to make these kind of fights happen, why would they not? But they have to be patient in pulling the trigger on these fights and let the boxers develop. 

The idea of promoters pushing two young instate fighters to battle one another is for their own benefit and not that of the boxer, or the longevity of the sport. It’s a short sited move. When two young prospects face off their fans stack behind them which is great, but when the boxer has just started to build a fan base the turnout is average and the result of losing the match can cripple his career. His fans are just starting to enjoy the sport and if their boxer gets whacked out they may have reservations about buying a ticket to a future show. I know you can say “Well then…Those fans weren’t true fans if they can’t support their boxer through a loss.” But some fans do turn away and those fans matter just as much as the diehard fans. Our local boxers need as many fans as possible to come to shows because at the end of the day the fans are the ones supporting professional boxing. If no fans show up where is the revenue to pay the boxers going to come from? You don’t see businesses lining up to sponsor an empty house for a boxing show!

You say you want the best to fight the best, cool. But why should this mean two local up and coming boxing personalities facing off? A better method of building a prospect into a contender is to fight the best from out of state. Doesn’t this make more sense?

It’s also been said if a boxer’s career is developing in the ring and gaining momentum it’s because he’s ducking the others in the state. Bull! My take on things is if our promoters and managers take the time to develop our boxers’ careers without in state fights the fans will have more time to gravitate to the sport. Creating careers this way will give time for rivalries to build and when the time comes for the match to take place the promotion will be a great success, the boxers will make good purses, and the fans will see a great show!

Matt Vanda

Matt Vanda was managed and promoted by Tommy Brunette

Look at the career of Matt Vanda. He is a great example of developing his career to a peak level before fighting in state fights. After that point, every time he boxed an in state rival he brought a great set of skills, professional showmanship, a major record, and a major following to every one of these match ups. He sold the show! The attributes Matt Vanda brought to the fights were developed over a lengthy career. Not by fighting instate rivals for bread crumbs all the way up. He trained hard and learned the craft of pro boxing. He was managed and promoted by a former MN boxing genius, Tommy Brunette, and boxed out of state competition in front of thousands of adoring local fans. Matt Vanda could fight tomorrow and pack the house! This is a fact! 

The reason Matt Vanda can do this is because he was brought along on by a Tommy Brunette who knew how to get Vanda the most for his potential. Vanda has always been an exciting boxer to watch, but had he been mismanaged early on we may have never seen the great fights he gave us later in his career when he peaked. Vanda may have never got the opportunities he had out of state either! Having the stellar record he had was a golden ticket! 

Back in 2003 Vanda’s fight with MN Rival JJ Corn was a huge fight at the St Paul Armory. The crowd was insane and the match was incredible! This fight didn’t happen till JJ Corn was at 42-6 and Vanda was at 27-0! A big stage was built for a big fight! Vanda’s career was priming and JJ Corn’s career had peaked. That fight made sense. Another good fight and show was Vanda’s fight with Anthony Bonsante witch nearly filled up the Target Center. That fight happened after Matt Vanda had boxed on television and chased his dreams on the big stage though out of state. Bonsante had chased his dreams, boxed all over the US and Canada, and participated in the Contender Boxing show which gave him great exposure. Both careers had great momentum and the boxers were ready to meet. They had a rivalry going for a long time and both sides of the fan base were aware of it. The result of the match was a great show where both boxers made out with great purses and the promoter did well too! Everybody won regardless of the outcome in the ring. 

My point is if we want these big fights to happen and see Minnesota Boxing to do well we need to let the boxer’s careers develop. In state fights can be a lot of fun for the fans and very lucrative for the boxers, but this will not happen if boxers are guided into cancelling the other out before their careers peak. These will be smaller shows, but great fights. We all want HUGE shows with great fights!

State Title fights are a different story and it’s not what I’m talking about here. Same too goes for a boxer facing off with a logical developmental opponent from across the state. I’m talking about two prospects. State Title Championships are great exposure for the any boxer and justify an early meeting in the ring. Aside from that it would be better to match our boxers with opposition from out of state.

There is a poison in Minnesota where a boxer is attacked by rival boxing personalities soon as he shows a spark of potential in the ring. It’s the stigma that keeps our pond small. This approach to the other’s success in boxing is hurtful to the longevity of boxing in our state and it should stop. 

Al Sands

Al Sands has shown that his future is bright in the sport of boxing.

I’m not saying we should have our boxers fight cup cakes till their records inflate. I’m saying we need to do a better job of developing our boxers on their own against out of state competition. Do I think there are some good instate match ups? YES! But let their careers develop independently before having them face off.  Wait for them to prime and you will get a big show to enjoy! Al Sands vs Phil Williams is appealing, but that’s simply based on the fact that Al Sands has shown he’s capable of becoming something big in the sport. Sands has started to build a following in Northern Minnesota and has started to earn the recognition on the world stage from hard fought victories over good opposition. Williams has never developed a following in Minnesota big enough to headline his own show. Only three times has Williams been on the A-Side of a main event fight and the only show draw well was when he boxed Matt Vanda, which he lost. Otherwise Williams has been consistently on the B-Side of a fight showing promoters know he’s not a draw. He’s brought in to embellish the record of the guy he is fighting. William’s approach to challenging the most popular boxer near his weight class is the only card he can play. It’s too bad for him. He’s got a marked up record from fighting small purses and his career will never be what it could have been. I think he could have done a lot better for himself had he been managed better. 

The point of all this talk is to point out what looks like the problem and offer a solution. For boxing to grow in our state we need to become one big team. Minnesota vs everyone else! If we take care of our boxers and develop their careers we will get more boxers breaking through to the national scene. The local scene will get much better as well. 

Author: Zach Walters

The Importance of a Coach and Mentor in the Lives of Youth (Part Three)

In the last section of this three-part series we’ll look at the long-term benefits and positive outcomes of coaching and mentoring youth.  

Previously we pointed out the large amount of time youth are left unsupervised and the result of them finding less-than-ideal role models.  Through early intervention, coaches and mentors like Duluth, Minnesota boxing coach Chuck Horton are able to steer youth down a more desirable path.  By making them responsible for their actions, Horton is able to encourage positive behavior like attending school and staying sober.

Other organizations designed to match youth with mentors have seen similar success.  According to Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters, kids who meet regularly with mentors are 46% less likely to use illegal drugs, more likely to be active in school, and have a better/more communicative relationship with their parents.  

Horton is committed to helping young people in and outside of the gym.

Horton is committed to helping young people in and outside of the gym.

Coaches such as Horton help young people to develop goal-setting skills, increase self esteem, have better peer relationships, and reduce violence and risky behavior.  Horton’s expectation of seeing his athletes every day at the gym holds their feet to the fire.  This may be the first time these kids are being held accountable for themselves and their actions.  This new level of responsibility is a stepping stone to becoming a responsible adult.    

As students get older, mentors also help to guide them in college and career opportunities; perhaps going as far as helping with applications, cover letters, or résumés.  Without this guidance, many kids would find themselves adrift with a perception of nowhere to turn.  Or worse yet feel completely overwhelmed and just give up.

There is always the slight chance that a mentor will use his powers for evil instead of good.  He may show a less favorable route to success or give bad information.  After all, nothing in life is guaranteed.  But that doesn’t mean the slight risk should negate the substantial rewards of coaching and mentoring.

Overall I cannot emphasize enough the positive benefits of coaching and mentoring youth.  Programs like Horton’s give kids a chance to have constructive adult guidance, a well-rounded image of physical and mental health, a positive peer group, and a promising future.  If only every child had that.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes


The Importance of a Coach and a Mentor in the Lives of Youth (Part Two)

In part two of our three part series on the benefits of mentoring and coaching youth, we’ll look at who needs it most and why.

It is estimated that over 40% of teens’ waking hours are spent without adult supervision.  That means that nearly half of their time is spent making their own choices.  That can be kind of scary.  In part one we looked at the consequences of youth not utilizing mentoring or coaching opportunities.  By seeking out their own role models, teens may gravitate to a less-than-ideal person to emulate.  This is a common cry for help and where mentoring is needed most.

Chuck HortChuck Horton started his Golden Gloves Program as a means to help troubled youth.on

Chuck Horton started his Golden Gloves Program as a means to help troubled youth.

Chuck Horton has seen first-hand how mentoring can turn around the life of a young person.  The Duluth, Minnesota boxing coach has been charged over the years with mentoring a number of youth popping up in the juvenile offender system.  These kids desperately need mentoring and coaching, and Horton provides it.  Through his Golden Gloves program he brings them into the gym and teaches them discipline and the sport of boxing.  There are also life lessons too plentiful to count as the older boxers share their stories of the struggles of sobriety and life on the straight and narrow.

Many of the youth Horton sees come from disadvantaged or single parent homes.  They may be in that category of having too much time unsupervised and find themselves in with a bad crowd.  But that could happen to anyone, at any socio-economic level, in any neighborhood.  Sometimes kids are just struggling to find their niche, their band-of-brothers with whom they can bond and grow.  

Horton is happy to provide such a place and the boxing coach has done it many times, developing some into world ranked athletes.  He has taken teens and stripped them of their bad habits, their negativity, and their penchant for making bad choices.  Through mentoring and coaching he instills in them self confidence and positive beliefs.  By using physical conditioning, conversation, and mental exercises he has helped to turn their lives around.  Often times just when they needed it most.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes

 To learn more, check out Chuck Horton’s other sites.

The Importance of a Coach and a Mentor in the Lives of Youth (Part One)

Horton is there to guide a young person through a tough part of their life.

Horton is there to guide a young person through a tough part of their life.

In this three-part series we will look at the benefits of coaching and mentoring youth.  First you must define each term both on its own and also as it relates to the other.  A mentor will be someone who shares an equal level of power in a low-pressure mentoring relationship.  The bulk of the relationship is based on free-flowing conversation and guidance that takes place as mentors share their experiences and past mistakes to guide youth to better choices.

A coach on the other hand has a vested interest in the relationship.  For example, Duluth, Minnesota boxing coach Chuck Horton sees his job as one where he breaks the youth down, so to speak, to a base level and builds them back up.  There is a definite superior/subordinate relationship as they work toward specific goals such as a certain match or game.  Once those goals are met, the coach will measure, monitor, and adjust the program to keep the youth moving forward successfully.

The above definitions may seem to be splitting hairs to some.  After all, many coaches like Horton are also mentors to young people.  One way we see this crossover role is the delivery of positive affirmations to build confidence.  As a coach conveys his belief that a pupil is good/strong/fast enough to meet their desired goal, the student now begins to perceive himself that way, somewhat leveling the playing field with the expert, the coach.

Youth that do not have access to traditional mentors or coaches in their life may fill that need with a poor role model.  They might look to emulate someone with a criminal lifestyle, someone involved with drugs, or someone who is a bully.  They see that the role model’s negative behavior is getting them attention, albeit with negative results.  The young person now finds himself in a downward spiral where it is difficult to escape the path they’ve chosen.  The negative role model will seek to tighten his control of the relationship, pushing the youth further into trouble.

It is not impossible for someone in the last scenario to turn things around.  But they do need help, usually in the form of mentoring and positive guidance.  Often times that person has gone through a similar situation.  A coach like Horton can guide the young person through difficult choices, showing them the consequences of their actions depending on which path they choose to travel.  Left without such navigational guidance, youth have very little chance to right the ship.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes

 Please check out Chuck Horton’s other websites to learn more.

Where Boys Become Men, And Men Become Heroes

When I used to train amateur boxers at my old gym I used a motto when the fighters were having a hard condition session.  It was “Horton’s Gym is Where Boy’s Become Men, And Men Become Heroes.”  I would shout that over the music that blared in the background as the fighters would struggle through the routine of the day. It was my way of encouraging them to push through the pain. In life there is pain and there is struggle. I would push the fighters to go beyond their comfort zone. In life, as well as in boxing, we all have to push through struggles no matter the extent of the pain. This type of training helps develop the will power needed to succeed in the ring, and in life. 

Chuck Horton

Chuck Horton in the gym

I would often use humor and anger during these routines; I feel that one should learn to laugh at pain, to scream at pain or whatever emotion is needed to get through it. It is my experience that if you use emotion as you instruct, you will evoke emotions from those that are being instructed, and emotions always came to surface. It was my job to see and take mental note of which emotion each fighter used to get through their struggle.

 I wanted to see what drove the fighter to push through. I would praise the fighters that tried their best, and would take note of the ones who slacked. I would also use these sessions as team building exercises, Taking note of those that chastised, and also noting those that encouraged their teammates. I would quickly punish the slackers and the chastiser’s with extra conditioning after the drill. The slackers needed to learn to pull their own weight, that nobody could save them but themselves.  Those that chastised their teammates needed to learn that negativity is contagious and has to be prevented from spreading. 


In the next article, Chuck Horton will discuss the importance of storytelling to create the culture of a hero.

In Need of Self-Defense Training? Look Here for Info.

If anyone is looking to learn about, and work on self-defense practices, please refer to the information below about Zach Walter’s Jungle Boy Boxing Gym.


Mission statement from Coach Walters of the Jungle Boy Boxing Gym:

“I take my role as a coach very seriously. I’ll teach them the right way to box the first time. There are many boxers out there that were overlooked by coaches early in their boxing development. These boxers learn bad habits that are a pain to break. At Jungle Boy Boxing Gym we work extra hard to get them on the right track with proper fundamental so they can focus on excelling in the sport down the road instead of correcting bad habits. Yes, I’ll teach my boxers the fundamentals and strategies of boxing, but more importantly it’s my goal to role model what it takes to be successful at life. This means teaching how to deal with setbacks in a positive way and setting goals to aspire to. Life can be tough on kids, but with focus and drive they can see through the hard times to a better future. The success my boxers have in the ring is undetermined. It’s up to them how far they want to go. My goal is that they also learn to become better at life through their participation at my gym. Not just become skilled boxers.”

Jungle Boy Boxing

General Information: Gym Info: Boxing gym hours: 3:30-5:30 Monday – Thursday

Gym address: 914 W 3rd St. Duluth, MN 55806

Contact Information: Email: jbbg2011@gmail.com Phone: 218-940-8927 Facebook: Jungle Boy Boxing Gym

map for Jungle Boy

Walters’ Coaching Credentials:

Zach Walters spent 14 years as a boxer. Six years as an amateur boxer followed by a successful 8 year professional career. As an amateur boxer he boxed his way to the National Silver Gloves Tournament and fought to the quarter finals which landed him 3rd in the nation. As a senior boxer he fought in USA Boxing National Tournament twice in Colorado Springs, CO at the Olympic Training Center. In between those two trips he won the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Championship and boxed at the Golden Gloves National Tournament. The following year Walters boxed through the USA State and 4-State tournaments and was on his way to the Nationals for a 5th time when he made the decision to turn professional. As a pro boxer, Walters started out 5-0 (4 KO) before dropping a hard fought decision in Tacoma, WA. His first loss was followed by a five fight knockout streak winning the Minnesota State Professional Boxing Title along the way. He faced off with Marty Lindquist and won by 2nd round knockout for the title. Zach also won the NABA-US Title, a national title, by second round knockout. A peak moment for him was fighting for the WBC-African Boxing Union Title. He boxed former world champion Carl Daniels and stopped him in the 8th round to win by TKO. Winning this title earned Walters a #12 in the world ranking by the WBC. Walters finished his career with a record of 24-5 (19 KO). You could say Zach Walters earned a degree in coaching from “The School of Hard Knocks”.

Golden Gloves:

The Golden Gloves program at the gym has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years through the monthly boxing shows at Grandma’s Sports Garden; “Golden Gloves at the Garden”. This program is for young men ages 17 and up. These boxers are trained to box and take their skills to the ring. Most of these boxers find themselves competing within the first three months. This all depends on their ability to pick up the skills needed to compete. Once these boxers have 5 fights in their book they become an “open fighter” and are eligible for the Senior USA Boxing Tournament and the Golden Gloves tournament. These tournaments take place in the early part of the year and wrap up around mid June. Both of these end at the National level and allow a boxer to become nationally ranked by the USA Olympic Boxing Committee. There are other boxing tournaments available and we plan on participating in them as the gym develops. Training for Golden Glove boxers is held 4 days a week: Monday through Thursday from 3:30 – 5:50.

Silver Gloves:

The Silver Gloves program is a newer entity to the gym. This program is for younger boxers age 9 – 16 years old. The only thing different from Golden Glove boxers is age. Some of these young boxers find that they have natural abilities well beyond their years. Once these boxers are “open fighters” (have fights in their books) they are eligible for the USA Silver Gloves tournament and the Junior Olympics tournament. These tournaments go all the way to the national level and offer great opportunities to travel about. The tournaments are one of the exciting parts of competition boxing. Boxing for Silver Gloves is held two days a week. Monday and Wednesday from 4:40 – 5:45 Sponsors and donations: There are two major ways to show support. Sponsorship of the fights and donations to the gym.

George Booth’s Testimonial

Hi, my name is George Booth. I have had the privilege and opportunity to be trained by Horton’s Gym owner Chuck Horton – I would like to share my experience of intense training. I learned a lot about discipline, dieting, and believing in myself. 

I can recall walking into the training class with anywhere from 6-12 people – all who were well ahead of me when it comes to fitness. I weighed in at 243 pounds (you could say my body mass was well over weight for a 5’10”). First thing that is very important with Chuck’s program is setting goals, understand why you’re in his class, and understand the commitment you have to make when you’re training. 

With that said I had no idea what I was getting into. I have joined other training classes that set up skills for football, baseball, and weight training. I was expecting a light fitness class. Well I was wrong! In the 6 months I was training I learned endurance. I was punching the bag for 3 minutes straight, breaking from standing in one place, moving my feet and lifting my arms. After 15-20 minutes my arms and legs were glue. I remember performing “Farmer Johnsons” for a minute back and forth – it felt like hours! 

Chuck had our class run a lot. I can recall the hills of Duluth MN. And these were not normal hills! They were steep inclines. I’d do pull-ups until I was exhausted, and then he’d start punching my belly. “Learn to breathe out” Chuck would say, “or you will have no wind left.” Chuck stressed that timing is very important when it comes to pushing your body to the limit. 

Imagine going 1 hour to 1.5 a day Monday through Friday with no breaks. Always pushing you to the edge where you had nothing left. That was my experience. I also was taught how to defend myself on the boxing moves Chuck showed me. Although I have not ever had to use these skills it’s always good to remember what Chuck had taught me. 

End result: in 6 months I lost 33 pounds, moving from fat to muscle. Thank you Chuck for pushing me and making me believe in my own ability. I recommend Chuck to any human that can handle his training. But never quit!!