BEST BOXING GYM - 2002
The business of running a boxing gym isn't really a business; it is a form of social work. This is especially true in Minnesota, where you can count the number of legit pros on your fingers. Yet the sweet science is sustained, in large part, by the owners of the 20-some boxing gyms sprinkled across the state. Most of the gym owners are odd ducks, but the best of the lot are driven by a sense of mission that is above reproach. Consider Clem Tucker, a retired St. Paul cop, who founded B.T. Bombers in 1989, with financial backing from ex-Viking Joey Browner. Tucker's idea was to provide an alternative activity for kids in the city's beleaguered Frogtown neighborhood. Housed in a cramped, low-slung building on Thomas Avenue (its second home), B.T. Bombers doesn't have the square footage or quality outfitting of other established gyms like Glancey's, the soon-to-be-closed institution on St. Paul's East Side. But over the years, B.T. Bombers has acquired a reputation as one of the places to go for rugged sparring--a training ground for both amateurs and aspiring young pros. More important, it is known in the neighborhood as a place where a mom or dad can take a troubled kid for a little guidance and the assurance that Junior will have an outlet for both this physical energy and mental aggression.