Boxing / Sports

After Hall of Fame boxing career, training fulfills Canino

DANIA BEACH, Fla. -- Bonnie Canino knows how to work the room.

At her boxing gym in Dania Beach, the soon-to-be Hall of Famer shuffles across the wood floors from the heavy bag to the jump rope to the speed bag, while bellowing advice to her pupils who have varying levels of talent and experience.

After earning four championships in more than 20 years of fighting--two in boxing with as many in kickboxing--training and helping grow women's boxing is how she fulfills her competitive itch now.

This week, Canino will have an opportunity to do both at the same time. While she hosts the Women's National Golden Gloves Monday through Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Canino will be inducted into the International Women's Boxing Hall of Fame on Thursday.

"Boxing is like a drug. Even now I can't put down my gloves. I live my life through my fighters and their dreams and their success, but still it's in my blood. I can't stop and relax," said Canino, who has hosted the Women's National Golden Gloves since 2006.

Canino, 52, is one of seven selected for the inaugural class of the IWBHOF. The group includes former boxers Lucia Rijker, the villain from the movie "Million Dollar Baby;" Christy Martin; Regina Halmich; Christy Halbert; Barbara Buttrick and JoAnn Hagen.

Nominations were open to the public before a nine-member board voted on the class. Candidates who earned a majority of board votes received induction. Sue TL Fox, a former boxer and creator of the IWBHOF, said it is important to tell the stories of the pioneers who paved the way for women's boxing.

"I'm just really looking forward to it because it's a history first for the sport and it's also a history first for the state of Florida," Fox said. "I'm excited for Bonnie and the other inductees. I think the board got it right."

When Canino was breaking into boxing in 1979, it took several sacrifices just to remain in the industry that she loves.

Though she dreamed of entertaining large crowds like her heroes Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, in reality there was a glass ceiling for women in the fight business. Several trainers and promotions turned her away, she said, so she had to move to kickboxing, which was allowing women to compete.

After she bought her first gym in 1985, she lived for boxing, spending many nights there while she trained herself and others. For two years she lived in her gym.

Despite the bumps along the way, Canino said she never thought about giving up on the dream of earning a world title as a large crowd of fight fans cheers behind her.

"All I know is I've been said no to my entire life, you just can't listen," Canino said. "You have to go over those obstacles jump over those barriers, especially if you want something. And I wanted it so much that I sacrificed."

Through her 55 fights, she became U.S. Open Karate Tournament Champion and became the first women's Feather Weight World Boxing Champion after the first women's sanctioning body was created in 1995.

Now, her dreams have adjusted into those of the men and women that she works with. She has trained two World Champions -- WBC middleweight Yvonne Reis and the multi-title bantamweight champion Ada Velez.

For current student Sura "The Slugger" Nadelman, who got into boxing later in her life, working with Canino has allowed her to learn a sport that is challenging.

"Bonnie is a genius at boxing. She's experienced, she's a champion," Nadelman said. "She's a pioneer. ... She gives you the personal attention that you need. She loves the sport so much that she gives 100 percent of herself to training you. She's 100 percent dedicated and has the secret to boxing: you have to love it."

Canino echoed those sentiments.

"The only way I know how to live is through my boxing," she said.

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus