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Fitness Clubs

Sully's Boxing Gym

Posted by Staff / Posted on August 3, 2011

sullys boxing TorontoSully's Boxing Gym is the real thing. Proof is in the photos of Sugar Ray Leonard on the wall, the framed photo of Marsha Valley on the admin desk, the poster of Muhammed Ali on the wall. Each one of them has trained here.

Sure, I'll admit that I was a little intimidated. Fans of the sport talk about Sully's in a reverent whisper. They'll tell you it's the oldest boxing gym in North America. They'll rattle off the names of famous boxers who've trained there. They'll tell you that it's one of the gyms that's still sending some of the best fighters into competition today. And they'll be right.

sullys boxing TorontoMost gyms these days have been re-done on the inside to feel like spas. If you take away the exercise equipment, they'd make pretty good places to kick back with a book and a latte. Not Sully's. Even before you turn the corner to enter the space, you can smell the sweat. You know the smell of boxing? It's a mix of stale sweat and worn leather. It's the smell of hard work and heartbreak and of hope, all mixed together. And that's what Sully's smells like.

sullys boxing TorontoNo air-conditioning, no showers, a carpeted floor, a giant boxing ring, and bags from the ceiling everywhere. Joe Mantiega, owner and manager, will greet you in a charming Italian-American lilt. He'll pull you -- like he did me -- into the ring that he built with his own two hands. Then he'll kick your ass in the best way possible.

sullys boxing TorontoYep, Joe's been looking after the gym since the mid-60s, and he was tight with Sully, aka Earl Sullivan, before he passed away. But just because he's an industry veteran, doesn't mean that you'll be stuck in the past doing workouts that existed when people still wore sweatbands before they became a statement of irony. The workouts are downright creative, and there's never a boring moment.

sullys boxing TorontoIf you're looking for a gym where you can disappear into the background to half-ass a workout, then sip a protein shake in an air-conditioned lounge, be assured: this ain't it. The road to fitness is drenched in sweat. Get ready to jump stacked tires, lift Olympic weight bars, and build your sprint-power while running on the spot, attached to the ring by a giant Nike SPARQ elastic band. Sully's also offers youth programs, and girls are always welcome.

sullys boxing TorontoIn short, if you want to feel like a boxer with the workout, the posters, the trainers, the smell, then check out Sully's. Stick around for the long haul, and you just might become one.

sullys boxing Torontosullys boxing Torontosullys boxing Torontosullys boxing Torontosullys boxing TorontoWriting by Charlie See. Photos by Jesse Milns.

Discussion

30 Comments

Fan / August 4, 2011 at 09:30 am
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Also a reminder that Edge, a multi-time WWE champion found his way here to begin his career.
Ratpick / August 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm
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Right on!

Used to love seeing the big Cadillacs parked in front of the old Sully's, down on Liberty Street.

Dmitri / August 4, 2011 at 01:19 pm
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Looks beautiful, just like in the movies.
Elizabeth / August 4, 2011 at 06:02 pm
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I remember there was a great documentary set in Sully's Gym. It was about women's boxing, I think it was called Punch Like A Girl. Has anyone heard of it or seen it?
k / August 5, 2011 at 02:19 am
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Sully's doesn't have a website. Does anyone know what the rates are? what that price includes and most importantly the operation hours?
K / August 5, 2011 at 02:37 am
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Questions:
-What are the rates and what does it include?
-When are they usually open?
Jack Rabbit replying to a comment from Elizabeth / August 5, 2011 at 10:21 am
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The documentary set in Sully's was done by Red Queen Productions and is indeed called Punch Like A Girl. Here's the link: http://redqueenproductions.com/
richard / August 9, 2011 at 07:36 pm
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Contact Richard Reittie at 416 726 5691 for further information on personal training at Sully's. He is the best boxer to come out of Sully's in the last decade, and after making his professional debut in 2010, is currently ranked the #2 middleweight in Canada. He can teach you all the ins and outs of the craft, or simply get you into the best shape of your life.
Old Sullys boxer / September 6, 2011 at 02:37 pm
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Richard is not only a great figher, but a genuine person as well. I remember sparing with him when i first started training, he did nothing but help me, never went hard on me and always help me learn more.
Bosco / September 7, 2011 at 09:52 am
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Had an online coupon deal and indeed, he pushes you HARD. I've been lazy (and busy) though and kinda scared off by how intense of a workout he puts beginners through.

Guess that's what happens when you're used to training heavyweights.
Johnathan / October 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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Does anyone know if this gym is still in operation? I popped in during the summer of 2011 and I was told that they don't have anyone managing the gym at the moment.

There are only a few legit boxing gyms in T.O ( cabbage town, Atlas and Sullys) so I'm hoping it is still up and running
Danielle / October 25, 2011 at 03:58 pm
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Sully's webiste - www.sullysboxinggym.com and they are open from 5-9 Monday - Friday. You can contact Joe Manteiga for more detailed information on classes and training 416.805.8108.
DeVoe Dyette / December 3, 2011 at 07:17 pm
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I recall training at Sully's Gym on Ossington. I fought many main event fights from this gym. One year Earl Sully Sullivan took me to the Girls & Boys club and the put me in with a heavy weight, whom I stopped in the second round. Much fond memories; jogging for miles to make weight; fighting the jr olympic US champ and winning. Most of you may not know me by my given name and probably not old enough. I am venturing at a time of Sammy Reis during the late 70's. My fighting name was {Sugar D.); I fought Howard Duke and Gene Taylor from City TV did the announcement. My greatest regrets was not knowing of Sully's passing. He is a memory worth remembering.
Michael Devolin / February 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm
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Used to fight out of sully's when it was on Queen and Ossington, above the car repair shop. Howard and Jimmy were trainers then, great guys. Sully was still alive. I will always remember the tea stains on Sully's tie.

Fond memories,
Michael Devolin (Irish)
Kid / April 18, 2012 at 11:06 am
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Love this gym still open
Maneesh / June 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm
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there are 2 workouts every night monday > friday. 5pm and 7pm
Bobby dune / June 17, 2012 at 08:17 am
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I remember back in the day in the 80s,there was grate fighters.
At sullys gym. We had eddy melo lighthevywight champion.
Ron Powell. Lighthevywight champion. Gimmy granson. Lighthevywight champion.
Danny perry.middlewight champion. Robby vine. Lightweight champion.
These are the best fighters of my time. I was gust wondering were are they know.
Yo Mayn / August 28, 2012 at 06:13 pm
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Is this place good for a mid-twenties beginner? How's the sparring here? Looking to compete eventually maybe, but for now I just want to learn how to box and train.
Joaquim / October 7, 2012 at 09:19 pm
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Forget sully's the gym is a cramped crowded sweat box and the coaches have no business in boxing i went in to get a feel for Tony Morrisons teaching style and after about 4 months hadn't seen him do much more than sit and sweat never talked boxing or strategy or compare styles not once do any coaching in 4 months save your money if you want to get in shape go to boxing classes at a fitness club and if you have any aspirations of becoming a fighter or sharpening any skill you used to have forget it this place is where an old fat former champ comes to get away from his wife that's all
rick coburn replying to a comment from DeVoe Dyette / November 23, 2012 at 01:54 pm
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DeVoe, I remember you. I was there off and on from 76 to 82. I thought you were sugar diet. Didnt know your name was Dyette. Had a few main fights there myself. Last tuesday of the month was fight night. Thats a blast from the past. Sure would love to see some old pictures or film from those bouts.
Jared / January 29, 2013 at 09:54 pm
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My son really wants to take up boxing. He's 13 and wants to box. So does anyone one know if he would be allowed to practice here?
Kat / April 2, 2013 at 07:49 pm
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Hey, this is random question but I know most of the groupons or deals are for "new members." What if I get a groupon as a gift? Am i not allowed to use it?
Dave / June 25, 2013 at 10:47 am
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I also boxed at Sully's and fought many main events there on Ossington near Queen.The Gym had a great history of fighters Nicky Furlano who fought Aaron Pryor for the world title,Eddie Melo,Jimmy Gradson,Remo DiCarlo and the list goes on.Sully was a great guy and was a real character I used to go set the ring up with him and fight afterwards at the C.N.E and other places.Great memorries.Jimmy Marsden was always there helping the kids out and was a great person to joke with.Also a great trainer who worked with some excellent fighters and a former champion boxer was Patsy Fern.If I could turn back time It would be great to go back there..
mike / July 4, 2013 at 06:14 pm
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yes i rember howard use to train me
jay / August 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm
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Too bad they never answer the damn phone
brian renwick / November 7, 2013 at 01:03 pm
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yes I used to train at Sullys in the early 70's used to spar with stuart gray clydes brother,lot of good fighters back then don ross, the holder twins,bernie,niki,i remember spider jones used to bunk down there, pushed a mean broom......for a a little while i played drums with Sully & the Knockouts the holder twins sang........Sully used to train my dad back in the late 40's-early 50's Danny Renwick........i was still training when "coach" died sour old geezer but quite the fixture there...
Sandra / November 21, 2013 at 11:57 pm
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I can't speak for those wanting to become professional boxers, but I can speak as someone who just wanted too get fit and Tony brought me back to life! He works you hard but he wants you to want it and to fight for it! He pushed me and he knew what to aim for and where I needed to be pushed. My son would also come on occasion which was great! Going there I felt like I was part of the "boxing" family even though I had no business being there lol! but it was awesome and for that I will always be greatfull and highly recommend Sully's:)
JD / March 23, 2014 at 04:55 pm
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Hi

Sully's boxing gym seems to be changing in an awesome way. The classes are awesome, the coaches will push you to your best levels. Those aspiring to be a fighter/champion & really wish to be so, your carrier begins here.

Coaches- William Grant & Tony; both are literally awesome. You can also buy gear from there now for cheap as well. Definitely recommended !
Mike Burke / July 8, 2014 at 11:25 am
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I remember Sully's Gym with great fondness. I was a boxer there in the early 70's, enjoyed the experience greatly, fought some fights and gained somewhat of a reputation. I left it too early really, but I will always feel I learned so much from the experience.
stef / September 17, 2014 at 02:56 pm
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Hey All,
I want to join but work most evenings 4-9 type of thing. Do you know if this place is open weekends or just for drop in training during the day? As it stands I would only be able to go to one class a week, which probably won't be worth the money.

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