HOW THE GOOSSEN FAMILY GOT ITS START IN BOXING
By Joe Goossen as told to Doveed Linder
Joe Goossen trained Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas from young boys to world titles, guided Michael Nunn to the world middleweight championship, resurrected the career of the late, great Diego Corrales, and has worked with a number of other top fighters in the game. His gym is Ten Goose Boxing located in Van Nuys, CA. The Goossen family is well known in the boxing world, notably Joe's brother Dan Goossen (pictured), the promoter of Andre Ward. In this story, Joe Goossen describes how his family got their start in boxing, literally from the ground up.
JOE GOOSSEN: “We started our own organization, literally from an empty piece of property we had. It was off this cul-de-sac in a residential area in North Hollywood. We used to have barbeques Saturdays and Sundays and play wiffleball there. My brother Pat had a friend named LC Morgan, who was a trainer. He would bring about eight or nine kids from the city who had never been out of their area, and he would hold the focus mitts for them and teach them different moves. One time, he just happened to say in passing, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a ring on the property?” That week, Dan, the natural born promoter, said, “Come on, let’s build a ring. When LC comes out here next weekend, we’ll surprise him with it.” Dan called up one of his buddies and they got the lumber and a couple other people pitched in and built a ring. It wasn’t the kind of ring you order out of a catalogue. Everything was homemade. We used hoses as ropes. That weekend, LC pulled up… I’ll never forget this as long as I live. He pulled up in his van and let the kids out. When he saw the ring, he literally broke down crying. It was a wonderful moment.
LC started bringing the kids every weekend, and we did that for weeks on end. After a while, we said, “Why don’t we do this for real and start putting on shows?” That’s when we formed 10 Goose Boxing. It was a family thing. One thing my mom and dad instilled in us is that if you don’t have a family behind you, you have very little. My dad took out a promoter’s license, Dan was the manager, and Pat, Greg, and I were trainers. Stepping into the role as a trainer was a natural for me, because I had already spent a lot of time working with fighters in the 70’s and early 80’s. Greg, I will say, really had an eye for boxing. I really depended on him a lot on the corner. I may have had more experience as a trainer than Greg, but he was the one with a sharp eye. Of course, Pat fit the bill as a trainer, because he had fought professionally. Dan didn’t like to get his fingernails dirty, but he had another fight on his hands, which was all of the other promoters who were trying to keep him down and out. They weren’t real happy to see these young up-and-comers stepping on their territory. In 1981, we started putting on smaller shows in Culver City. Within three years, we signed our first Olympian, Michael Nunn. Four years after that, on July 28th, 1988, Michael Nunn knocked out Frank Tate in the eleventh round at Cesar’s Palace to become the middleweight champion of the world. It was a triumph for the entire family.”
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