CLASS ACT: Marion Opens Lanton Boxing Academy

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By Evie Allen

MARION - Move over Mixed Martial Arts. There's a new sport in our region. A school for boxing has just opened at the Marion Center Mall.
Classes are taught by a former professional boxer.

This past weekend kicked off the grand opening of the Lanton Boxing Academy, named after world boxing champion Mark Lanton.

Lanton says some of the best lessons are taught in the ring.

"Ever since I was a young adult I wanted to coach," he says.

Lanton, who's been boxing since he was 10, says it's an excellent sport to keep kids out of trouble.

"That's what I did when I got out of school. Instead of going out there and breaking windows, I was in a boxing gym doing something constructive," says Lanton.

The Lanton Boxing Academy is currently located in owner Mike Ben Avi's Combined Martial Arts Gym in the Marion Center Mall.

"We will work together at times but it's mostly a school inside of a school," explains Ben Avi.

Both Lanton and Ben Avi share similar goals.

"We can help kids do something constructive with their time than just playing video games and sitting around doing nothing," says Lanton.

The Lanton Boxing Academy is not just for kids. Lanton takes students of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

"It's gonna actually take a lot of energies out, and anger and frustration if they have it, and if they don't, it's just a good way to keep in shape," says Ben Avi.

Fourteen year-old West Frankfort native Breanna Patrick says boxing is a sport more girls should get into.

"I think a lot of people should try it. Just give it a chance instead of just thinking it's just a guys sport," says Patrick.

Lanton, whose has fought with some of the greats like Roy Jones Jr., Mike Tyson and even Sugar Ray Leonard, says boxing is an opportunity to lose weight, while learning discipline and self-defense. Mark hopes to expand the Lanton Boxing Academy by adding an after-school program where kids can be tutored.

He says to be in shape like a boxer means you are the best shape of your life.

"Live your life as a boxer, which is integrity, honesty, just being a good person," says Lanton.

Classes will be held Monday through Friday from 6-8pm. The facility is located in the Marion Center Mall next to Rural King. If you or your child want to learn more, contact Mark Lanton or Mike Ben Avi.
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