Photo by Sue Jaye Johnson
LANSING, MI -- The capital of Michigan has always been full of fighters, boxers, that is. The Gallo Boxing Gym was founded in 1994 by Joe Bermudez, Sr. and Juan (John) Bermudez. Bermudez, Sr. is currently the director of the gym but passing down the legacy of ownership to his son, Joe Bermudez, Jr. was something that he always knew would happen.
At an early age Bermudez, Jr. worked under the direction of his father, Bermudez Sr. Even though he was young he was a quick learner. He was a boxer, helped match boxers for bouts and helped promote shows. At 19-years-old Bermudez, Jr. took over as owner and manager of Gallo Gym. Both son and father are involved in every aspect of boxing, including capturing several championships themselves and also still doing boxing matchmaking for bouts.
For over 18 years, Gallo Gym has produced over 50 state championship titles. In 2011 and 2012, Bermudez, Jr. trained 4 fighters who won national championships and 3 fighters who won world championships.
As head trainer of at the gym, Bermudez, Jr. is currently working on building a stable of boxers. Gallo Gym is located at 6000 S. Pennsylvania Avenue. They are opened Monday - Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm and are closed on the weekends so they can compete.
Bermudez, Jr. said, “I get really motivated when I work with the kids. I love teaching them the technique of boxing. My dad and Kronk Gym out of Detroit trained me. I added what I learned on my own and all of those elements together help me train the kids.”
Bermudez Jr. is dedicated to making sure that youth learn discipline, life skills, sportsmanship and character through boxing.
He said, “I am so anxious when we have our kids fight in a tournament. They always look professional before they box and are prepared. If they are not ready they don’t compete.”
F.W.C. Berston Field House is a nonprofit organization in the Flint area that offers a free boxing program to any person, eight years of age or older, wishing to participate.
Trainer Jason Crutchfield said that their goals are to provide a program that includes strength, conditioning, focus, self confidence, and discipline for the community. Working with the Lansing boxing community was a good fit.
Bermudez, Jr. said, “We coached together and I have so many kids that I work with. Not everyone has a style like ours. We both have the same style so Jason brings his boxers to Lansing once a week and we visit Flint once a week.”
Bringing Home the Gold
Crutchfield indeed knows about training young boxers, he helped Claressa Shields from Berston’s gym train for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Shields began boxing as a little girl. Shields was the first middleweight boxer to win a gold in women's boxing at age 17.
In early January, a new sign went up at Flint Northwestern High School. It says "Home of Claressa Shields 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist" and a photo of the boxer and former student in her red USA Olympics jersey with her hands in the air after winning the gold medal in London by beating Russia's Nadezda Torlopova 19-12.
Shields will be fighting on Saturday, February 16, at the Ramada Inn located at 7501 West Saginaw Highway. Doors will open at 5:30 pm and the fights start at 7 pm.
For more information about Gallo Gym, call 517-489=0122 or 517-763-7952.
This was printed in the January 27, 2013 - February 9, 2013 Edition