INTERVIEW: ST. LOUIS TRAINER JOSE PONCE
By Doveed Linder
Jose Ponce, trainer of light heavyweight Ryan Coyne (21-0, 9 KO’s), speaks about Coyne’s April 12th fight with Marcus Oliveira (24-0-1, 19 KOs) at the Treasure island Casino in Las Vegas and also about the St. Louis boxing scene.
DL: What is your background in St. Louis boxing and what led you to train fighters?
Jose Ponce: I’ve been fighting for a long time. I competed on the amateur level and professional level here in St. Louis. From there, I started training amateur and professional fighters. I’m one of the owners of a gym called Sweat here in St. Louis with my business partner, Matt Brown. It started out as a personal training facility and about six or seven years ago, we started Pound For Pound, which is the boxing aspect of the business. A lot of the local pros come in here. Devon Alexander and his trainer/manager Kevin Cunningham, who is my mentor as a trainer, have come here to train in the past. And when there’s a big promotion in town, a lot of the fighters come here the week of the fight. Adrien Broner has trained here for a couple of weeks. In the past, I trained (former world title challenger) Deandre Latimore. I train Tyrone Chatman who is a good local welterweight. And right now, I train Ryan Coyne who has a big fight coming up.
DL: What are your thoughts on Ryan’s upcoming fight with Marcus Oliveira?
JP: There’s a lot at stake. Ryan has been waiting a long time to get a shot like this and we’re going to take advantage of the opportunity. From what I understand about this other kid, he’s rugged and he has heavy hands, so we’re going to take it to the next level. We’ve put a lot of work into this and it’s time to do it. Ryan has the drive and the athletic ability to be a champion. I’ve never seen anyone with that kind of work ethic. Some guys you have to make them stay in the gym. With Ryan, you have to make him leave. He has a lot of experience. He’s been in camp with some elite fighters. So, the time is right for him to take a fight like this. This is going to be a great fight. There are going to be a lot of fireworks and on April 12th, we’re going to take this.
DL: Anything in closing?
JP: The St. Louis boxing scene is very strong right now. We’ve got some good amateur gyms that are turning out pros. We’re going to see more world champions coming out of St. Louis like Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander. Ryan Coyne is on his way. Also, I want to send my condolences to the Freeman family. Preston Freeman was an undefeated prospect in St. Louis and he passed away about a month ago.
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