IAP 188: The Past, Present, & Future of Italian Americans in Boxing with Special Guest Coach Dino Spencer
Play • 46 min

For many Italian Americans, the sport of boxing is synonymous with Italian American pride, thanks to the timeless accomplishments of legendary names like Rocky Marciano, “Boom Boom Mancini,"  Jake La Motta, Carmen Basilio, and the late, great Angelo Dundee.

But one very dedicated Italian American has made it his life’s mission to help preserve the sport’s legacy, while training a whole new generation of talent both in and out of the ring.

On this week’s episode, we’re joined by celebrity trainer Dino Spencer, owner of Miami Beach’s World Famous 5th Street Gym,  to discuss his four decades in the squared circle… from his tutelage under Hall of Fame trainer, and fellow Italian American Angelo Dundee, to the more than 10,000 men and women he has trained over his illustrious career -- including world champions in boxing, MMA, UFC, and other martial arts.

Dino also shares how he ended up as the “Trainer to the Stars," having gotten into the ring with such high-profile clients such as Adriana Lima, Dave Chapelle, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, David Schwimmer, Christopher Walken, Mark Walberg, Mario Lopez, Jeremy Piven, and Michael Phelps.

We'll also dive into the fabled history of the World Famous 5th Street Gym, from its start in 1950 when Chris Dundee began promoting big-time boxing in Miami Beach to how it quickly became the celebrated University of Boxing, overseen by Chris, the “Wizard of Oz," and his brother Angelo, the “Prince of Oz," and how it was a magnet for a wide range of international celebrities including Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Jackie Gleason, Malcolm X, The Beatles, Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone, and a myriad of others who were absorbed into the gym’s legendary mystique.

With Italian American pride as such an important theme to this episode, we also talk about Dino’s own heritage and how he has worked to learn more about his roots and share them not only with his family, but also to reconnect to a whole new generation of boxing talent in Italy, and how he has set out to build these new Italian emigres into better fighters  -- and better people -- through their shared Italian American heritage.

Whether you’re a lifelong fan of “the Sweet Science” of Boxing, or just a lover of great Italian American stories, this episode is certainly one you will not want to miss!

For more information on the 5th Street Gym, visit www.5thstgym.com.

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