‘Boxing dungeons’ regaining popularity with East Texans

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 3:57 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas gym is a throwback to the old days when boxers trained in dark confines with no air-conditioning, and became tougher for it.

With only a fan to ease the heat, kids and adults choose to train in Spartan conditions in Longview.

“I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The kids that come in here they work at it. Put in their workout and get out, no complaints since we’ve been here,” says boxing coach Stephen Fletcher.

Fletcher ran into a problem recently trying to find a permanent facility. Then the mother of one of his students found an old building on South High Street, and bought it. It’s called “The Boxing Dungeon.”

“We needed a building to call our own. We looked around and looked around and finally found a building and told him well you can come on in here with us. This is what we got,” says building owner Jabonnie Coats-Grant.

A far cry from air-conditioned fitness facilities, kids and adults attend the classes, which focus on intense station drills that test stamina.

“Put you on hitting a heavy bag for two minutes, then move you to a reflex bag, speed bag, About 30-45 minutes,” Fletcher says.

Fletcher trains a number of amateurs for tournaments and Gold Glove events.

“I have several others that have a lot of potential, that I think are going to do really well, also. Number one thing that I stress is defense. How to hit and not be hit,” he says.

And he says the tough conditions make tough fighters.

“Just the determination of hitting the bags, knocking off stress,” the coach says.

“It’s a positive environment, and it’s good for the kids. You are going to break a sweat either way,” Jabonnie says.

Fletcher teaches morning and evening classes’, and trains amateurs for boys and girls weight divisions.

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