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BOXING: Brainerd boxing now in the hands of Bennett

Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey John Bennett (left) held targets, while Adam Do

The need is there and John Bennett hopes he’s the guy to provide the direction.

Bennett, who has been involved with Golden Gloves boxing since 1994 and most recently with Golden Lakes Boxing, is starting Fluid Boxing Academy, which he hopes will draw a broad range of interested people to the sport.

Bennett has a long list of things to do before his ultimate dream comes true, but he’s taking it one step at a time.

The first step will be to provide a consistent home base for Brainerd’s youth boxers. Whether they are just interested in the sport or want to compete in Golden and Silver Gloves boxing, Bennett hopes Fluid Boxing Academy will be their home on a yearly basis. Bennett will start his youth boxing program in October.

“The consistency from year to year is extremely important,” said Bennett. “We want to have a full-fledged team, but we’re not only geared toward Golden Gloves. We really want to help out anybody who wants to join our club. That’s really a key for us.”

Fluid Boxing Academy will meet in the old Golden Lakes Boxing club location across the street from the Gallery in downtown Brainerd.

The youth boxing program is open for both boys and girls ages 6-17. They will learn the fundamentals of how to box.

Along with fine-tuning his program for youth boxing, Bennett has already begun writing grants and fundraising to begin construction on a permanent more modern home in the old Northern Pacific shops next to Brock Larson’s Warrior Alliance in Brainerd. He hopes to have the new location up and running in April.

“Right now we’re getting our tax exemption, non-profit status so any donations we get, we can give them our tax number and they can write their donation off,” said Bennett. “We’ll be working to get bids on the building to get it to where it needs to be and then we’ll attempt to raise the money to get it finished.

“We already have a lot of people who want to give their sweat and tears to fix and clean it up. We have some equipment but we could always use new equipment.”

Bennett said there is a lot more interest in the sport than just the 15 or so athletes competing in Golden Gloves boxing. He hopes to provide all of those people a place to train and learn the science of boxing. He also will continue to train Mixed Martial Arts athletes and offer adult boxing classes where people can learn to box and train like a boxer without the contact. The boxing classes will be Bennett’s way of providing the constant home for his academy. In exchange for all of this and the real reason behind Bennett’s big dream is to help troubled and sober youths in the area.

“We want to work together with the United Way, Kinship Partners and others to give an opportunity to these kids to focus their energy on boxing and have a place to come and stay off the streets,” said Bennett. “These projects will be designed and developed to bring the youth together.

“My focus has never been just on boxing, but about teaching respect, sportsmanship and honor, too. I have always pushed the fact that everyone involved in the team is now family and will be respected as one. Boxing has always been about getting in the ring and daring to take care of business no matter how daunting or impossible this might be. Getting in the ring is a complex experience of hope, setbacks, hard work, passion, dedication and the ultimate reward of success.

“Success can be lost and found countless times, but the process of daring to set goals and achieve them is really what matters.”

People interested in joining Fluid Boxing Academy can contact Bennett at (218) 831-0435.

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at or 855-5856.