Boxing: Fighting that Teaches Discipline, Confidence
May 05, 2016 03:52PM
● By Tori La Rue
By Tori La Rue | [email protected]
South Valley - If it’s opening time at the Fullmer Brothers Boxing Gym, you’ll likely see Milo Gutierrez, 22, leading warm-ups and stretches for a group for 20 to 50 boys. Gutierrez, who has become a mentor to the other participants, claims that the Fullmer Brothers Boxing Gym saved his life.
“After I first graduated from high school I started hanging out with the wrong crowd. I just partied and I didn’t know what I was doing, and I ended up in jail twice,” he said. “I remember coming back to tears in my mom’s eyes, and I’ll always remember that picture. I knew that I needed to change and get involved in something.”
Gutierrez, of Herriman, saw a Facebook post about the Fullmer Brothers Boxing Gym in summer 2014 and searched the Internet for a phone number. When he called, Jay Fullmer, one of the three Utah-famous boxing brothers, answered.
“He told me to come over to the gym,” Gutierrez said. “When I got there, he gave me a hug and treated me like he knew me or like we were family, but we had never met before.”
Although Jay’s boxing career was cut short with an eye condition and he never reached a world championship match or Hall of Fame status like his older brother Gene did, Jay never gave up on boxing, and used it as a source to help people change for the better.
Among the photographs, news clippings, awards and other memorabilia of Gene, Jay and Don Fullmer that line the walls of their gym, there’s a sign with Jay Fullmer’s motto on it, which reads: “We’re not saying that everybody’s going to end up being a champion, but I can guarantee you if they keep coming down, they’ll be better kids and they’ll be better citizens and that’s all that we can ask.”
Gutierrez said boxing has changed his character.
“Boxing taught me discipline,” Gutierrez said. “You’ve got to have a calm mind and think before you do.”
While some people say that boxing is violent, Gutierrez said it’s one of the most respectful sports out there. The participants shake their opponents’ hands, and have to put their confidence on the line when they go to fight, which helps them to stay humble, he said.
In March 2015, Gutierrez became state champion after training for two years and fighting in competitions for one year. Gutierrez said the championship came to him because of hard work and dedication and said he plans to put in the same work ethic when he starts college at Salt Lake Community College in fall 2016.
Just one month after Gutierrez’s state title, Jay Fullmer passed away on April 22, 2015.
“I really missed him a lot and the first weeks it was hard. My fights weren’t as good,” Gutierrez said. “I started listening to what [my coaches] were saying, though. They were saying that Jay wouldn’t want it to be quiet and sad at the gym, and I knew they were right.”
Gutierrez picked up his spirits and tried to be an example to the other fighters in the gym. In fall 2015, Rowan Hubley, a red-haired 9-year-old boy entered the gym for the first time, and he started following Gutierrez around.
“Milo’s an inspiration, like a hero, to him,” Joey Hubley, Rowan’s father, said. “He’s experienced. Milo sets that platform of potential and encourages Rowan to get there too.”
Although there’s no one of the same size or level as Rowan at the gym —he is only 50 pounds, so he hasn’t sparred yet — Rowan is determined to succeed in boxing.
“My plan is that, using my training, I can get to the Olympics,” Rowan said.
Ted Gurule, instructor, said that with Rowan’s dedication and Gutierrez’s help, he has no doubts that Rowan can get to the Olympic level.
“I feel so blessed that these kids and their parents tell me that I am a role model,” Gutierrez said. “They motivate me. I see them getting into boxing at a young age, and I’m so happy. I’m going to make sure they don’t have to go through the same things that I did.”
People interested in seeing what the gym looks like or interested in learning how to box may sign up to participate at the gym, at 11000 South 2200 West in South Jordan, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. There is no cost to be trained at the gym because the facility is run by volunteers and donations.