Ricky’s Story


As you walk into the Ten Goose Boxing Gym in Van Nuys, not only will you have the pleasure of seeing trainer Joe Goossen, who has the likes of Michael Nunn, Gabriel and Rafael Ruelas, Joel Casamayor and Diego Corrales among others on his résumé. Nowadays, this gym, located on Van Nuys Blvd. and Friar St., is under the direction of one Ricky Funez. If you’ve watched this sport long enough, you’ve undoubtedly seen Funez for years but never knew exactly who he was.

Chances are you’ve probably seen him grow up as Funez was a mainstay in Goossen’s corner for years as an assistant. After years of serving as an apprentice, he is now running this gym.

“It feels great; after being here since I was 12 years old, Joe gave me the opportunity to take over and try to establish a name for myself- like every other trainer that wants to have the best fighters out there- it’s a great opportunity that I have right now,” said Funez, who literally left his mark on this gym in the beginning.

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“I came here as a gangbanger first, actually,” admitted Funez, laughing at the memories of his day as an incorrigible youth. “I was getting out of school and I saw this big ol’ mirror and I was hanging around a bunch of cholos back then and I tagged on Joe’s gym and I put ‘Lil’ Daffy’ and six weeks later, I was walking by and this big white boy comes out. He goes, ‘Hey, you, come here! You ‘Lil’ Daffy’?’ I go, ‘No, no, no,’ and Larry Loy, who grew up here in my neighborhood, he goes, ‘Yeah, that’s him’ and Joe says, Erase this from the mirror!’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll erase it’ and I never showed up till like six months later and I came back and I started out helping Joe. I started sparring with his little, young amateurs that he had and he used to throw me in there with Gabriel and Rafael and ever since then, I got stuck with him.

“It’s been 24 years.”

Funez began like many others at the gym, cleaning up, organizing the equipment, picking up and chaperoning boxers and carrying the spit bucket during fights. Basically, as Funez says, “Everything. And then I started working with Michael Nunn, Jeremy Williams, all of them. Just carrying the bucket, y’ know, learning everything Joe was teaching them, how to wrap hands and all that.

Years ago, he had it in mind that training boxers could be his career. “After I turned pro, but my heart wasn’t there,” he admits, “but I got the experience to get in there and see how it felt and I said, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’” At that point, being a professional tagger was probably no longer an option. “And always, Joe says, ‘Rick, teach, train,’ and I said, ‘Y’ know what? I think I’m going to do that. Someday I can have my own gym,’ and the opportunity came right now.”

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And what better way than to start a gym than one that has been established for years? Funez believed changing its name would’ve been foolish (and it’s not clear if Goossen would’ve let that happen anyway) but as you stroll inside, you can already see the mark Funez has left. There is a new floor, a renovated restroom and shower area, a new equipment locker, a fresh new coat of paint and a glass case selling “Ten Goose Boxing” t-shirts. The facelift looks good.

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“I have to be more creative to bring income,” said Funez, who equates this to being a first time homeowner. “I have to do a lot of advertising on this gym, Craigslist, t-shirts now, something that Freddie Roach does. There are always people that want to get in shape. I have my private clients and I have a certain time for the fighters. So that’s how I make my living now.”

The excerpts of the above article were written by Steve Kim for MaxBoxing.

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