It’s been about 60 Years since the 5th St. Gym Opened. 40 years since Ali trained there and about 8 years since Angelo Dundee passed away. 17 world champions had been trained at the 5th St. Gym and by Angelo. Since taken over by Dino Spencer and Tom Tsatas, and re-opened in 2010, a decade later the gym has its 20th World World Champion and 1st real full Champion in 25 years. Over the weekend Jeison Rosario shockingly stopped opponent Julian Williams in spectacular fashion for the 154lb WBA, IBF, IBO belts. It was a clear upset and shock. “It’s always a team effort” claims 5th St. Gym co-owner, head coach & trainer as well as top conditioning coach Dino Spencer. Spencer isn’t well known in the main stream but he is no stranger to Boxing.
He is mostly known as a celebrity trainer and former martial artist but has probably worked more corners in boxing and worked with more champions than anyone in the sport. David Haye, Bernard Hopkins, Paulie Malinaggi, Chris Algeri, Luis Ortiz, Fres Oquendo, James DeGale and Kid Chocolate are just a few of the pros, challengers and champions with whom he has worked. He is currently head trainer to several ranked and undefeated fighters, Danielle Scardina, Mateo Papa, Charley Hoy and Christian Thun. The gym has serious sparring and attracts the best fighters around the world.
Learning his craft under Freddie Roach and Angelo Dundee, “Stallion” as he’s known to his closest friends (for his love of Rocky and his Italian heritage) got his start in combat fighting at age 5. He began training in Shaolin Kung-Fu and by age 13 he was teaching new students as a Black-Belt. He eventually was trained by Arlene Limas, the 1st woman to win a gold medal in TaeKwon-Do at the 1988 Olympics in Korea. A former pro football player walked into the gym one day which led Spencer to pivot into boxing when he realized the boxer had some talent. He called his best friend and fellow trainee Tom Tsatas in to help and off they were.
Seventeen years since that day They resurrected Fres Oquendo’s career and got him a title shot at age 41 and 46, and along the way trained a UFC heavyweight Champion, Andre Arlovski, opened up the most famous boxing gym in the world with Angelo Dundee, became best friends with their mentor Muhammad Ali, and have trained fighters, champions, celebrities and regular folks ever since. It’s not by accident that their gyms 1st true world Champion would come the day after Ali’s and Tsatas’ birthday, and in Philadelphia. “It’s very telling” says Spencer that such a coincidence would happen. Tom and Muhammad always celebrated their birthdays and for some reason Toms would never take center stage” jokes Spencer. “And here it happened, right here in Rocky’s home town is just icing on the cake and very appropriate.” Spencer continues that it’s always a team.”Coach Luis is also responsible in what the gym has accomplished. He is quiet, low key but his passion and commitment to the sport, the fighters and the gym is unparalleled. A true boxing purist” says Spencer.
Spencer’s partner Tom Tsatas sums it up “It’s taken us nearly a decade of hard work, perseverance and dedication to get here. In my opinion, and with absolutely no disrespect to any other trainers or gyms, I believe that 5th St. Gym, Dino, Chiro and all of our team here is the best anywhere. We cannot be inside the ring with the fighter, it’s his will, heart and soul that is in those ropes. But we are the ones who make sure he has the correct tools once he steps between them. Just in case you were wondering all of us here at 5th St. Gym are going bananas.”