Two Lives in Boxing
McGuire moved to Colorado and was trained as an electrician. He eventually returned to Ann Arbor and operated a maintenance company before taking a job ten years ago cleaning medical instruments at the U-M. He balances that full-time job with operating the Fight Club. The gym is open Monday through Thursday evenings, and on weekends McGuire often takes his boxers to tournaments in Michigan, neighboring states, and Canada.
Twenty to thirty kids show up regularly to train, including twenty-two-year-old Ryan Rawls, a national champion in the heavyweight class. Barnes, fifteen; Hampton, thirteen; and Taylor, fourteen, are regional champions. Taylor also won the inaugural International James "Lights Out" Toney Tournament, a tournament that McGuire and his longtime friend and former sparring partner Toney hosted at the Veterans Arena ice rink in Ann Arbor last August-and plan to repeat this August. The most successful boxer ever to come out of Ann Arbor, Toney has fought professionally for more than twenty years, winning titles in several weight classes. Now he's helping the Fight Club boxers get their turn in the spotlight.
"We've got kids in our gym who are recognized throughout the country right now," McGuire boasts. "We try to make sure we give each kid what they need. The importance of the basics and stuff like that, driving it home."
That includes schoolwork-hence the homework table.