Reach One, Help One, Teach One: Boxer Troy Wohosky Builds Athletes with Heart
Growing up believing the only way to fit in and gain respect as a kid was to fight for it, professional boxer Troy Wohosky slipped his fists into a pair of boxing gloves at age nine, not foreseeing he’d be gang fighting by his teens. Inevitably, the worlds of athlete and criminal clashed and after a deadly close call he dropped gang life forever and discovered his heart’s calling.
“Boxing’s my passion,” Wohosky shares, “but for me, what keeps me on my path, is helping others. Reach one, help one, teach one, not for a living, but to make a difference.”
In 2008, after the gym where he’d been training closed, he started his own boxing club in his garage and continued training rigorously, setting his sights on the Olympics. “I had no coaches and I went to the fights by myself. It was like, guy, you’re just throwing yourself to the wolves, but I was so hungry.”
In 2009, primed with over a hundred amateur boxing fights, Wohosky went pro, notching a first win and knock-out before a severe knee injury sidelined him. Rather than rush back to the ring and risk future potentials, he spent time with family and built his boxing business, opening Spartan Boxing Gym in Medford in 2012. Set in an inner city garage, Wohosky’s non-profit gym serves over 200 kids and adults.
“A setback makes a stronger comeback, right?” he says. “I feel a lot of it happens for a reason. For years work had to fit around boxing. I’d gotten promotions and refused them. It meant more responsibility and staying longer, but I wanted to pursue boxing. I wanted to create a legacy in the boxing world.”
Wohosky’s legacy is inarguably growing through the kids and parents whose trust and respect he has earned.
“Many kids are in trouble with the law, or from domestic violence or drug abuse. Without the right mentor or outlet it’s easy to get sucked into gangs, things that aren’t positive. I want to catch them before that, give them hope, teach them accountability for everything, and to not use the past as a reason for where they’re at right now.”
“You play football and basketball, but you don’t play boxing,” he says, about channeling aggression. “It’s not just punching; it’s personal accountability, with morals and discipline, a vehicle to open a kid’s inner potential to who they really are. If a new kid’s aggressive, I ask do you wanna try some boxing? I can make 30 minutes feel like death because they’re working their bodies like they never have before, but they feel like they’ve really accomplished something.”
A charter school is in the works, with hands-on career training and dorms to house youths who’ve aged out of assisted living programs. “Their confidence has to be built, their self-esteem. And kids are unfocused these days. They’re living in a Facebook, Instagram world. Walking down the sidewalk, sitting in restaurants, kids are always on their phones. They don’t see the flesh and blood right in front of them.”
“A lot of kids have boxing skills, but they don’t want to put in the work,” he adds. “They don’t want to run at five in the morning, they want everything easy. That’s not how it works. All the greats, Mayweather, Ali, Leonard, they’d live, eat and breathe boxing. You have to be able to give it all you got. When you perform, your work ethics show if you’re a hard worker or not.”
Wohosky returned to the ring in 2017 winning 2-0, proving his principles speak for themselves. “For me it’s a love/hate relationship because it’s hard work, on the body, mind and family. Going in the ring, you’re gonna get hurt, but you like doing it, it’s fulfilling. In life you want to do what makes you happy.”