My name is Steven Stokes, born and raised in Rochester, New York. I was raised in a household by my grandmother (Martha Ferguson). I started boxing in 1987 at a boxing gym called Rochester St. Martin’s which had great boxers training there like Charles “The Natural” Murray, Robert “Push-Up” Frazier, and Curlie Sanders. I got involved in boxing through my friendship with a guy who was well-known in the city by the name of Charles “Killer” Crews. I would always follow his boxing career when we were in school and I would always ask him questions.
One day he asked me to come to the gym but I wasn’t really into boxing at the time because I was playing basketball. It wasn’t until a mutual friend of ours started going to the gym and got pretty good in the sport.
My thoughts were, “If he can do it, I know I can do it, too!” And after going to the gym I was bitten by the bug and I’ve never looked back.
I was a decorated U.S Marine Welterweight/Light Middleweight boxer and a Staff Sergeant who served as a Radio Chief in a Communications Platoon. I was one of those who simply never turned professional. Military duty, most notably two separate tours in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom), were amongst my top priorities at the time when most of my peers and former opponents were joining the punch-for-pay ranks.
After my military service was completed I enrolled in Kaplan University where I earned my Associates of Science in Criminal Justice, Bachelor’s Degree in Juvenile Justice, and Master’s of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Global Issues in Criminal Justice.
Over a decade and a half removed from my final amateur fight in 1999, I am now dedicated to the careers of boxers, muy thai and MMA fighters now as I was to my own career.
I train all athletes in boxing within combat sports, from muay-thai, kickboxing, mixed martial arts and boxing. Some of the fighters I currently train are Muay-Thai World Champion Kevin “The Soul Assassin” Ross, WFC Muay Thai/ MMA Amateur World Champion Zach Bunnell, and WBC/ MTG Muy Thai Champion Eddie Abasolo.
What sets me apart from other boxing trainers, in my opinion, is that I have traveled a lot and had time to spend in many other boxing gyms. I notice that the title “boxing trainer” comes a dime a dozen. I don’t consider myself a boxing trainer; anyone can become certified through USA boxing, get a professional seconds card, or train a good prospect and call themselves a “Trainer.” I consider myself to be a teacher of the sport of boxing. My ambition is simple: Teach boxing the way it was taught to me, with passion, discipline, precision, and respect for the art.
Let me be clear, I am not a pad (mitts) man or a cardio boxing instructor. I teach boxing to individuals that have championship mentality.
I have been trained by, in my opinion, some of the most elite coaches in the boxing community including Roosevelt Sanders of the United States Marines, Gloria Peek, JC Davis, Bill Meartz, Robert Johnson and Robert Michael to name a few.
If a fighter, regardless of their combat sport, wants to fine-tune their boxing skills, I know that I have the real fight experience, training experience, and overall boxing expertise to get them to the next level with their boxing skills. As a teacher, the most gratifying experience is when the person you are teaching is able to absorb what you have taught, apply it using repetition, and properly execute the technique in action and this is exactly what I strive to accomplish as a boxing teacher.
And I would have to say one of the highest achievements in my boxing career was getting inducted into the Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame April 16, 2016.