By: Ron Valderrama/Ronatringside.com
Every once in awhile in boxing, we cross paths with a story that isn’t mainstream boxing news. Such is the case in this story about a boxing fan here in Phoenix, a super fan if you will and he is proof of what the power of one can produce. His name is Geoff Ronning, a hard-core boxing fan and true lover of the sport who will be competing at the Ringside Masters Championships March 10-12, in Kansas City. Geoff is often spotted at most fights in the Phoenix area and many of the big fights in Vegas. Simply said, he knows boxing inside and out and lives for the sweet science. At 50 years old, Ronning has stepped it up a notch, the 6’4″ plus, 270-pound boxing fan wants to actually climb in the ring and fight! Of course, wanting to fight Ronning means at an amateur level. He has been training at Sonny’s Gym in Goodyear, Arizona, an old school gym that teaches boxing the old way. As a matter of fact, his trainer is Sonny Gutierrez himself, a long-time valley boxing fixture that knows the game of boxing.
Ronning has known Sonny for many years and wanted to box years ago, Ronning really didn’t take it too seriously and dedicated himself just until recently. He has had other trainers in the past, and they did teach him a lot which he says he is very grateful. Long story short, Geoff thought he was too old and wouldn’t be able to compete, but not so says Sonny. Ronning the boxing fan began to toggle the idea of actually competing and when he passed his medicals the dream became a reality, not an easy task sometimes, especially since Ronning is diabetic. But that was before he started training and working out some 55 pounds ago, dedication and a will to succeed appear to be the driving force. It has transformed him and Ronning is physically fit and is in fight ready form, he is mentally prepared for the inspiring challenge.
Sonny says Ronning is a natural, he quickly caught on and began working with the fundamentals and basics of boxing that Ronning already had. Choosing to climb in the ring and box is never easy, and without a doubt tough at 50, but Ronning shows promise, he has a solid jab and a blistering punch. I watched him spar a few rounds today at Sonny’s Gym with another boxer who believe it or not is 63 years old, an amateur champion who will also be competing in Kansas City, but that’s another story for another day. Sure Ronning needs improvement, but what I witnessed today was nothing less than amazing. Think about it, a 50-year-old Ronning, a diabetic on top of that has learned so much in the ring in a short amount of time. He is living his dream, he is on a mission to prove something to himself. Ronning says he wants to participate in 3 or 4 tournaments this year, his goal is to win 30 tournaments and possibly fight for the next 15 years.
So what does his family think about Geoff fighting? Well, his wife is very supportive, his son is not to crazy about the idea of dad climbing in the ring, like any kid who has a parent that fights, they worry about them getting hurt. What is so great about this story is the fact that it inspires, giving hope to that anything is possible despite any obstacles. Geoff Ronning is a humble guy, a guy who appreciates life, he says if it wasn’t for his wife, he wouldn’t be where he is today. The guy lives well, he owns a business that helps companies and individuals succeed, but that too is another story for another day.