This site started as a way to give recognition and respect to our(Houstonâ€™s) own, especially since I personally donâ€™t feel Houston gets the recognition it deserves when “fight towns” are mentioned nationwide. With that being said most of the content here has been focused on our “legends” of the sport but starting now I will be also covering some of our current batch of boxing specialist in the Houston and Houston areas.
The Grind Boxing Academy and Fitness Center
First up is Manny Castaneda, owner of The Grind Boxing Academy and Fitness Center, located at 18075 West Little York, Suite E. This is the same location of the former, “West End Boxing” Gym
I spent a few minutes speaking to Manny about the transition from West End Boxing to The Grind Boxing Academy, what lead to that change, his goals, and several other subjects. Below are some highlights of that conversation.
Lucky Lou: Manny how did you come about getting involved in boxing?
Manny: First of all, I want to let it be known that boxing saved my life. Two and a half years ago, I was overweight, over stressed, and not sleeping well. As an entrepreneur those things began affecting my business as well as my health and I knew I needed a change. I went to The West End Boxing Gym and began training there under Coach Ray Zaragoza. I was hooked from day one and in three months I lost 60 pounds. I liked the training, the gym, and the atmosphere so much that at times Coach Ray had to “kick me out” of the gym because I would stay for hours and hours. I then started to realize how much of an impact boxing training was beginning to have on my life. My work and family life improved, I started to look and feel better, and my confidence, which is vital to my business, was at an all-time high!
LL: When did you become involved with your current head coach Derek Collinsworth?
Manny: About a year into it I met coach Derek, was introduced to his program, which I began following, stuck to the program, and everything just grew from there. I liked the fact that he had experience in coaching amateur and professional boxing and came from a long line of boxers and trainers in his family.
LL: Okay so the big question is, what happened to West End Boxing and how did you become owner of The Grind Boxing Academy and Fitness center?
Manny: Approximately a year ago coach Ray began saying he might sell the gym and he wasnâ€™t sure if it would continue being a boxing gym or what would become of it. I knew I could not let the secret to my success disappear and had to do something. With my entrepreneurial experience I felt confident I could save the gym and asked coach Derek if he would be the head coach of the gym if I bought it, he agreed and The Grind Boxing Academy and Fitness Center was born.
LL: What are you wanting to accomplish with “The Grind”?
Manny: With my head coach having over 25 years of experience in boxing and my having over 20 years as an entrepreneur, we feel we have the right combination to begin a boxing legacy as well as create opportunities for everyone involved. Our goal is to leave a positive impact in everything we do. We arenâ€™t in this business for accolades, attention, social media likes, profit, or gym selfies, we want to change peopleâ€™s lives.
LL: What made you want to name the gym The Grind Boxing Academy and Fitness Center?
Manny: I went with that name because I knew what it took for me to achieve the goals I have achieved as well as what I wanted the gymâ€™s philosophy to be, which is:
Painful, repetitive, nasty, laser focused work towards your goals. When you step in the door you leave everything outside and come in here to work. No time for chit chat, gossiping, taking gym selfies, or joking around. This is ” The Grind” .