Danny Smith, who has trained 11 world champion boxers, has moved from Las Vegas to Faulkner County, to mentor young fighters and to condition the general public.
His boxing facility, the 501 Boxing Club, is set to open this week as part of the Conway Mixed Martial Arts Center on Merriman Road.
He hopes to build an amateur boxing team out of Conway for boys and girls, ages 6 and up.
But he also will emphasize general training, "all athletes, every sport," he said.
"I’m working with soccer moms to small kids," he said. "I’m here not only for competitive fighters but for those who just want to lose weight. Boxing is the best thing anyone can do to lose weight. Nothing is better for your heart rate than boxing. It teaches you to push and pace yourself. It’s better than a treadmill. Then, you add some heavy bags, jumping rope and ab core work and it’s constant cardio. It’s a workout."
He says young boxers have a misconception of the training required.
"Everyone wants to start believing they can just go in there and start fighting," he said. "There’s a lot of training and work that has to take place before you get in the ring."
Smith was a top amateur boxer in the 1980s while playing football and majoring in finance at Georgia State.
He soon got into boxing training and since 1983 has trained a series of champions in various classifications, including Fernando Vargas and Victor Ortiz,
Born in Little Rock, he looked to return near his home after eight years in Las Vegas and California. His son is a ninth-grade football player at Greenbrier.
"I wanted to relocate and work with young people and build a youth program in another setting," he said. "It’s going from the fancy city life to a country-like setting. Something different."
And in his training of young people, he stresses more than just getting in a ring and slugging it out.
"I stress fundamentals but I want the young people to learn discipline and be good in school and keep their grades up," he said. "Sometimes, the better he is in school, the better boxer he will be."
In working in an MMA facility, he also likes work with those in mixed martial arts.
"To be successful in MMA, you have to have a good stand-up game," he said. "There are a lot of height ranges in MMA and being able to be good from a standup position can give you more leverage on someone who wants to get you on the ground."
Interested persons can call him at 615-979-2682.
"I’ve learned some things along the way, particularly about conditioning and how to train and attitude, that matter and I want to and I hope I can help them be successful in whatever they want to do," he said.