Garage-turned-gym churns out successful youth boxers

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John Barry
Monday, March 3, 2014

JANESVILLE--Chub's Boxing Gym might be the smallest in the state.

The gym is actually a garage.

Training at the Janesville youth boxing club, however, continues to yield big results.

In the last two months, Chub's has produced three state champions, two regional champions and a National Silver Glove champion in Lucas LaBuguen.

Not bad for a club that trains three to four days per week in the garage of Frank LaBuguen, who was 12-1 as a professional boxer and fought over 90 amateur bouts.

“We would obviously like a bigger gym to train at, because the other night we had 11 kids in here,” said Chub's co-owner Tony Dubanowich, who was a three-time Golden Gloves state champion in the 1980s. “But we make the most of what we have and have had good success.

“The kids actually like training here, but with 10 or 11 kids here at once, you can only get so much done. We usually have to go to Milwaukee to spar.”

Lucas LaBuguen won the Silver Glove national championship in Kansas City earlier this month. The 8-year-old won the 69-pound weight class with a unanimous decision in the title bout over Eddie Pettigew of Brooklyn, N.Y. The boxers fought three 1-minute rounds.

LaBuguen is now 9-0 as a fighter, and under the tutelage of his father, Frank, along with Dubanowich, has progressed quickly. Lucas' Silver Glove national championship was the first for a boxer from Chub's Gym since Scott Pliner won in 1980.

“I enjoy boxing because we get to go to different places and see things,” Lucas said.

“My favorite thing is the TKO, but as long as I win and I'm having fun, that's all that matters.”

Dubanowich's son, David, has also put together a successful season. The 14-year-old Janesville Parker freshman won the Silver Glove state championship at 165 pounds, and he followed that up with a regional title in North Dakota in early January. Dubanowich lost in the quarterfinals at the national meet to Shannon Ford, the two-time defending Silver Glove champion of Syracuse, N.Y.

In his first year in the sport, David has compiled a 5-3 record, with all three losses coming against nationally-ranked boxers.

Anthony Lerma, a sophomore at Janesville Craig, won a Golden Gloves state title and recently moved into the top-10 rankings nationally. The Silver Gloves division is for boxers under 16, while the Golden Gloves division begins at 16 and over.

Chub's Boxing Gym continues to grow. The club has more than 20 boxers training and is always looking for new members.

The gym might not be first class, but the results have been.

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