Growing up in West Duluth, Chuck Horton quickly learned how to defend himself. Not only were the streets rough, his family was rough as well. Born into a family that used boxing as a self defense skill, Chuck’s father, Archie, passed on his knowledge of street boxing to prevent his son from being bullied.
Chuck’s formal boxing instruction took place at his father’s gym, The West Duluth Boxing Club, with local boxing coaches. Archie, on the other hand, was more concerned with teaching kids how to defend themselves rather than getting involved in competitive boxing.
Chuck always wanted to take boxing to a whole new level, one which never interested his father. In that pursuit, Chuck has trained numerous highly-decorated boxers. Over the years, however, he realized that his father was right about one thing: as a business, boxing is a dysfunctional group.
After his father passed away, Chuck decided he wanted his father’s legacy to live on throughout Duluth. He decided to open up a new gym, “Horton’s Gym”, as a tribute to his father.
After opening Horton’s Gym in 1994, his boxers experienced immediate success all through the Midwest. Taking multiple team titles in Minnesota, Horton was seeing his expertise pay off both in and out of the ring.
“During my time running Horton’s gym, I was always striving to make these kids better citizens,” Horton said. “And I’ve had huge success. Yes, we were winning boxing matches, but we were also becoming better individuals.”
Through the years, Horton has trained numerous State Boxing Champions. However, as these boxers moved on to the professional ranks, he didn’t know where to refer them. In his eyes, there were no professional trainers in the area that could do his fighters justice. As a result, Horton decided to go professional as well, taking multiple amateur boxers with him.
Originally, the transition to professional boxing was tough. No one wanted to host Horton’s boxers on their card without a very large disbursement to the promoters. Seeing no other alternative, Horton chose to take things into his own hands and become a promoter as well. Having hosted sell-out amateur crowds throughout Duluth, he had plenty of experience as a promoter. He began talking to the media to get more publicity around boxing in Duluth, and did some marketing of his own, literally going door-to-door to promote fights.
One of Horton’s fighters, Zach “Jungle Boy” Walters, was having a lot of success at the professional level. He ended his career in 2009, amassing a record of 24-5 in the light heavyweight division. Walters asked Horton to sign a friend of Walters’, Andy “Kaos” Kolle. Kolle would enjoy great success professionally; currently holding a record of 26-4 in the middleweight division. Andy “Kaos” Kolle has had huge success under the training of Chuck Horton.
After his fighting career was over, Walters began training amateurs as well. Soon Horton wanted to commit all of his time to the professionals. He realized that the everyday grind of running a gym was taking time away from working with his professional boxers. As a result, Chuck Horton passed down his gym to Walters. Horton felt Walters was the best man for the job due to his passion and persistence.
Currently, Chuck Horton is training fighters such as Al Sands. He also assists a variety of MMA fighters with their punching power.
Although he loves being in the gym, Horton realizes there are kids out there that will never step into a boxing ring. That’s why he is currently studying Chemical Dependency Counseling at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. He wants to become a social worker and eventually open a home for the homeless and disenfranchised.
“Boxing is not for everyone,” Horton said. “But there are still plenty of kids out there that need help. I need to find a way to help these kids outside the gym. Drugs are everywhere. These kids have so many negative influences in their lives; they need someone there to push them in the right direction.”