In my last blog post I wrote about connections and in particular Lori Steinhorst of Bad Girls Boxing. She was the catalyst for Boxer Jen Hamann’s and my recent trip to L.A.
We’d like to thank Rich Schreiner and Philip Palaveev for their donation of miles to make our travel possible. This trip was an unbelievable experience. Thank you to Lori Steinhorst for the experience of a lifetime and her personal generosity as well as mad driving skillz.
We landed in L.A. early Monday morning and were getting our luggage as Lori breaks the news that we are traveling to Wild Card Boxing Gym to workout and meet legendary trainer Freddy Roach and World Champion boxer Diana Prazak. If you don’t know who she is, click on this link and check out her knockout ability. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU9hozVzQ5A Then ask yourself why don’t we see her fights on television?
Diana is a feisty Australian with a passion for boxing as powerful as her punch. She gave boxer Jen Hamann and I lots of pointers about how to work on the inside and get more power. As I referenced in my last blog post, she was gracious in sharing her knowledge and a wonderful presence to be around. She told stories of being a 5’5″ #175 “fatty” and a smoker and how boxing saved her life and there was no better sport out there. I couldn’t agree with her more.
I also couldn’t believe that I was getting a chance to meet Freddy Roach. I never thought that this would happen and there he was! He was humble and quiet and a regular guy overlooking one of the busiest gyms I have ever seen. When he asked where we were from and I told him Seattle, the first thing he asked was did I know boxing local Brett Summers? He talked about their fights and how tough Brett was. It made me proud that I was visiting from a city that has a tremendous history of boxing and Coach Roach recognized it as such. You should check out Brett if you don’t know who he is. http://www.doghouseboxing.com/Ken/Hissner090209.htm He still trains boxers up in Arlington, WA and gives back to our great sport!
Monday alone would have made the trip completely worth it, but it kept getting better. Lori has this sly grin on her face when she is proud to announce good news and good news she delivered. We were going to be spending all three days with Mary “Merciless” McGee. Mary is preparing for another title fight in Argentina on October 4th against foe, Erica Farias. Lori announced that Jen Hamann was also getting the opportunity to spar some rounds with Mary on Tuesday and Wednesday. Truly an experience of a lifetime. You can follow Mary by liking her facebook page at this link https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Merciless-Mcgee/622715544411629
Mary was coming to L.A. to be interviewed by a documentary crew working on a film called “Fightress”. Check out this trailer! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPKaIO5Vzew It originally started as a film about New Mexico World Champion Boxer, Holly Holm. When Mary faced Holly a few months ago, the crew found out about a non profit project Mary was working on with Lori called the Kampala Project and they became intrigued. Then Mary’s charisma took over and the documentary crew wanted to know more and include her in the film.
On Tuesday, we were supposed to go train and get the sparring rounds in early, but a change of plans happened. Lori then delivered the news that Mary, Jen and I were all invited over to Laila Ali’s house to meet her and participate in the documentary. Laila is lending her celebrity and likeness to bring awareness to Mary and Lori’s non profit, “Kampala Project” http://www.badgirlsboxing.com/fstop/ Laila is also in the documentary Fightress. The documentary crew followed us to Laila’s house and documented the entire experience. It’s going to take an entirely different blog post to capture our experience with Laila. I’ll say for now that she is one of the most professional, well spoken, gracious and charismatic people i have ever met and I am still shocked that I was in her house getting to listen to her advice and ask questions.
We moved into Thursday morning and the training wasn’t over. Jen got the opportunity to put in more rounds with Mary and a top ten pro bantamweight (#118) guy named Khabir Suleymanov. She did a phenomenal job putting in the work with these top level pros and earned their respect. We went back to the hotel, wrapped everything up and are now back in Seattle ready to open Arcaro Boxing and share our knowledge and experience with each and every one of you.
This trip was worth every minute!