Braden Littlefield stands with boxing promoter and trainer Glenn Cugno after Littlefied won the Sugar Bert National Qualifier in Biloxi, Miss., the past February. Submitted photo

Dylan Crockett, 12, and Braden Littlefield, 14, each value promoter and boxing trainer Glenn Cugno’s live instructions over the Internet, but the pair miss the busy ambience of the musty, basement gym at the Lewiston Armory.

“I miss the atmosphere of everybody in the gym, seeing everybody almost every day, but with Glenn coaching me from Zoom (Video Communications), it is kind of the same thing, with him yelling at me from couch, though,” Littlefield said.

Littlefield, a freshman lightweight who is hoping to play football for Lawrence High School in the fall, said Cugno’s online training keeps boxers motivated. Before the coronavirus appeared in Maine, Littlefield made the hour-long drive to the Cugno Boxing club from his home in Benton about six times a week.

“Some kids don’t have the willpower to do it all themselves,” said Littlefield, who checks in with Cugno three or four times a week for a half-hour session. “They have to have somebody push them.

“It gives me more motivation that he is there with me trying to coach me than just me doing it on my own.”

Cugno shut down his boxing club on March 12 when COVID-19 shut down businesses across Maine.

“When I open it back up, I am just going to keep it to 10 kids, whatever it is, you know what I mean?” Cugno said.

Cugno got the idea of Zoom conferencing with his boxers from a friend.

“It’s the kids working out and it is like I am right there telling them what to do like ‘get your hands up’ and how to work the bag,” he said. “It is just for the ones that are dying to stay in shape for fighting.

Dylan Crockett, right, raises his arms in air after being declared the winner the New England King of the Ring Tournament in New Hampshire. Submitted photo

“We were supposed to have fights April 26…and it got cancelled, and all those guys and girls fighting on that show are trying to stay ready, and when businesses open up, we are going to do it (fights),” he said. “We not getting together and doing any sparring. We are just trying to stay safe and keep everybody safe and the videos seemed like the best way to go.”

Cugno offers online exercise regimens as well giving them tips on how they hit the bag and “not get in any bad habits.”

“A lot of times when they start working out on their own, they pick up bad habits because nobody is watching them,” Cugno explained. “I have five or six kids who are really active right now.”

The live video instruction keeps Cugno busy until he is back in the ring with his prized fighters. He also posts exercise regimens for his fighters on his Facebook page.

“I miss being in the gym, too,” he said.”It kind of fills that gym void. It keeps me busy and I can keep an eye on the kids and making sure what they are supposed to be doing.”

Crockett, who attends Windham Middle School, said his grandfather sparked Crockett’s interest in puglism after they watched the “Rocky” movies.

He made two or more trips a week when the Cugno Boxing gym was open, but he is fine with conferencing to train.

“I think it is cool,” Crockett said. “I like it better because of what I do with Glenn, like it is just me and him. It is just attention from him, He was just focusing on me so it made it a lot better. There are not a lot of things to do so it helps you and I get to connect with Glenn.”

But Crockett knows the Zoom conferencing calls are a temporary substitute for the boxing gym.

“I miss everyone there. Everyone is so friendly,” said Crockett, who also runs track and plays soccer. “Like we have a routine and stuff.”


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