Legacy of his own

Ex-Bulldog boxer Troy Wohosky starts his own gym to give back to the sport that's given him so much
Troy Wohosky, right, works out with Julian Stone, 12, on Tuesday at the Spartan Boxing Club.Jamie Lusch

Step inside and hear the rhythmic echoes of boxing gloves striking heavy bags over and over.

Kids shift from station to station, while music and words of encouragement create a circus of sound in the background.

TROY WOHOSKY

WHO: A former Medford Bulldog Boxing Club standout.

  • WHAT: Wohosky started the Spartan Boxing Club just over a year ago and is using the facility to continue the boxing tradition among local amateurs.
  • UP NEXT: Wohosky and fellow ex-Bulldog boxer Mike Wilson will fight Aug. 3 at Seven Feathers Casino Resort. Wohosky will fight at 128 pounds. Wilson, who is 9-0 on the pro circuit, will fight cruiserweight.
  • OF NOTE: The Spartan Boxing Club will host a fight night at the Jackson County Expo's Olsrud Arena on Aug. 24. The amateur event will feature bouts involving members of the Spartan Boxing Club. Gates open at 5 p.m., with the first bout starting at 6 p.m. General admission is $15, and $5 for kids.

About a dozen pre-teen amateur boxers are getting in a solid workout on a sweltering late Tuesday afternoon. It's organized chaos set to music.

To Troy Wohosky, it's serenity.

This is a place he can give back. This is a place he can build toward his own future. This, after all, is his place.

Wohosky started the Spartan Boxing Club just over one year ago. The 5,000-square-foot building, located at 729 Welch St., is home to many first-time boxers, young and old. Spartan Boxing follows in the mold of the Medford Bulldog Boxing Club, which closed down in 2008 following a successful 12-year run.

Wohosky, 27, became a Bulldog Boxing member at age 11. Now he's the man in charge.

"I get some of these kids that are very shy and unconfident," says Wohosky. "Now they're a whole different person. They are now confident enough to lead stretches. I can see champions coming out of Spartan Boxing."

The Spartan Boxing Club houses kids looking to get their feet wet in the sport, to more polished boxers hoping to make a name for themselves on the amateur scene.

Wohosky uses his time at the club to train others in the community in the sport that has done so much for him. He also uses his time and the facility to train for his own future in the sport.

Wohosky, an accomplished amateur boxer, will make his return to professional boxing on Aug. 3 at Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville. He is the second-to-last bout on a seven-fight card, which culminates with friend and fellow ex-Bulldog fighter Mike Wilson as the main event.

Wilson, a cruiserweight who will be looking to improve to 10-0 at the pro ranks, also trains at the Spartan Club.

"I see myself in a lot of these kids," says Wilson, who joined the Bulldog Boxing Club at age 13. "I was this fat little kid when I first started. I kept grinding and grinding and improved everyday. It's hard work.

"The thing about boxing is you get out of it what you put into it."

Wilson already sees some of that coming out in some of the newbies at the gym.

He shouts words of encouragement to Wohosky and his sparring partner Kacy Morse, a 27-year-old Eagle Point resident looking to gain footing at the amateur ranks.

"I just got into boxing about 21/2 years ago," says Morse. "It's something I had never tried before. I'll tell you, boxing is the hardest thing I've ever done."

Morse is just one of many amateur boxers that come to Spartan for guidance in the ring. Some unknowingly come for guidance in life.

Wohosky embraces this new challenge. He has lived it.

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At age 11, Wohosky joined the Bulldog Boxing Club run by Joe Pedrojetti and his son Jimmy Pedrojetti, who served as manager and trainer to the fighters.

At age 13, Wohosky joined a gang.

"We all have ups and downs," says Joe Pedrojetti. "They're good kids, high-spirited kids. That's what we attracted.

"Troy was a neat kid from the very beginning. I don't judge them by some of the problems they had."

Boxing was a way out of the gang lifestyle that surrounded Wohosky. He pushed hard to become one of the top amateur fighters in his division and, by age 17, was ranked third nationally at 119 pounds.

Wohosky packaged quickness and power into his 5-foot-4 frame, and used those skills in over 100 amateur bouts.

Wohosky and Wilson, who was shooting up the heavyweight ranks, found solace at the gym and in their workouts. They also found another family in the Pedrojettis.

"It's always been family with those guys," says Jimmy Pedrojetti, 43, who is married to the sister of Wohosky's wife. "Those guys are like my little brothers. I remember picking up Troy at his elementary school and watching Mike in his first fight out at the fairgrounds."

In 2008, the last year of existence for the Bulldog Boxing Club, Wohosky narrowly missed out on an Olympic berth.

It was shortly thereafter that things briefly turned sour for Wohosky.

"I was coming out of Bulldog Boxing and still kinda living the fast life," he recalls. "I was still running with some old friends that were in gangs and doing things that brought negativity. I wasn't focused on the next level."

That next level begins Aug. 3.

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Wohosky will fight Marco Cardenas in the 128-pound weight class. Cardenas enters the fight 4-4 with one knockout.

Jimmy Pedrojetti is working as trainer for both Wohosky and Wilson as fight night approaches.

"I'm really hungry right now," says Wohosky. "I eat, sleep and wake up with boxing on my mind."

Wohosky lost his professional debut — a six-round fight in Canada — by decision. He also lost by decision in a later fight in Los Angeles.

Wohosky admits to not being completely prepared for the pace and style in the professional ranks.

"I took a six-rounder, which is something you can only do outside of the U.S.," says Wohosky. "In the U.S. you're allowed four rounds for your pro debut. I ran out of gas by the fifth and sixth round.

"I had no corner man, no manager. I did everything myself, which is a red flag."

"In amateur, it's about punches in bunches," he adds. "You gotta pace yourself in pro. I'm learning now to switch up my style and am learning to use more defense."

Wohosky also didn't understand his surroundings in his earlier pro fights, says Jimmy Pedrojetti.

"He didn't understand that he was the opponent," Pedrojetti says. "When you fly to somebody's hometown, you are the opponent. Basically I heard it was a real close fight that didn't go his way."

This time, Wohosky will have friends and family by his side.

"That's gonna make a huge difference," says Jimmy Pedrojetti. "I expect Troy to do great things."

Those great things go beyond whatever Wohosky does in the ring. His legacy is also taking root elsewhere.

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The Spartan Boxing Club came to be in the ashes of the Bulldog Boxing Club.

When the Pedrojettis closed shop they gave a good portion of their equipment to Wilson and Wohosky. Both would set up makeshift training facilities at their houses.

Wohosky found encouragement from people in the neighborhood.


"I had this little gym in the carport at my house," says Wohosky, who has two children of his own. "I'd get the bags out and people would walk by and ask if I teach boxing lessons. Kids would come around and want to learn how to box. I think that sparked the idea of opening up a gym. Just seeing the looks on those kids faces, I knew that was something I wanted to do."

The facility on Welch Street has two boxing rings — one that Wilson created from scratch — and a row of heavy bags and speed bags. The walls are decorated with boxing-themed posters and the phrase "Home of the Spartans" is neatly painted on the wall looking down on the room.

In the other half of the building, a row of lockers donated by Hedrick Middle School takes up one wall while wrestling mats given to Wohosky by Kids Unlimited director Tom Cole are laid out and ready for use.

Wohosky hopes to introduce wrestling to his club in the near future.

"I have different things going on," he says. "I'd like to bring in different things for people to be interested in. On one side we have boxing and the other side we have self-defense classes. Some of the dads want to volunteer to coach wrestling.

"I'm pretty excited about the future."

Another aspect Wohosky would like to introduce is the importance of schoolwork to his pupils. He has set aside a back office that sometime in the near future could serve as a place for the younger students to do homework or study.

"I want to get volunteers or tutors for these kids," Wohosky says. "I think education is very important. It's something they have to fall back on. Knowledge is a very powerful thing."

There is a gym fee, but Wohosky is willing to work out a scholarship program for individuals who are struggling to make the payment.

The community has also played a big part in helping fund the Spartan Boxing Club.

"Some people are already helping and donating," he says. "I'm very grateful to all those who have helped.

"I just want to give the kids a chance to succeed."

Jimmy Pedrojetti makes an appearance at the gym a few times a week to work with Wohosky and Wilson.

"It's neat that they (Wohosky and Wilson) are taking it on and running it," says Jimmy Pedrojetti of the Spartan Boxing Club. "Troy is really good with the little ones."

"It's like a (Bulldog Boxing) reunion there," he adds. "A lot of the old Bulldog guys come there and work out. It's pretty neat to see because we're still like family. We still have fight parties and we still run some races together."

Wohosky wants his legacy to last long after his boxing career comes to a close. The Spartan Boxing Club is a way to make sure that happens.

"I feel like Jimmy and Joe ... they handed down the torch to me," says Wohosky. "I just have that feeling. I could see in their faces that they are happy about what I've done."

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 541-776-4483, or email kgoff@mailtribune.com


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