BEST BOXING GYM - 2000
Circle of Discipline
In recent years, a growing number of nonboxers have discovered the value of the traditional fistic workout. As a result, boxing gyms have begun to pop up in some unlikely locations, where they can better serve their new, more affluent client base. But the best gyms remain in the tough neighborhoods, with most of the best fighters. Since its founding in 1991, the Circle of Discipline, housed in a grimy old garage on battered old East Lake Street, has been home (or home away from home) to much of the Twin Cities' top-flight talent. In large part that's due to the efforts of Sankara Frazier, the gym's founder and head trainer. Frazier preaches a vigorous anti-gang message to his young charges, and he places as much emphasis on the pride and discipline to be extracted from the sweet science as the mechanics of the craft. But make no mistake: The Circle's fighters get a heavy dose of the latter. The well-connected Frazier regularly lures world-quality fighters to his facility, availing local boxers the opportunity to test their mettle against the likes of Byron "The Alabama Hammer" Mitchell (a super-middleweight title holder whom Frazier periodically trains) and Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson (a D.C.-area junior-bantamweight champ and one of the world's pound-for-pound best). Although the facilities at the Circle of Discipline are modest, the gym has all the basic necessities: two small rings, a couple of heavy bags, weights, a mat to skip rope on, and tons of heart.