Phillip Applebaum was an amateur fighter with 12 PAL championships, heavyweight division in New York City. Then he went into the Golden Globes and made it to the finals after seven fights to get there and lost. He came in second in New York City in the Golden Globes.
Boxing has been a part of his life since before he was 15 years of age. His first professional fight was on a championship card! After that fight he found out he had scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. He was told he couldn’t fight anymore or he’d wind up cripple.
After a few back surgeries and doing good he was riding his motorcycle one day and he was hit by a car and ended up in a wheelchair where he remained until approximately 2010.
The fighter in him woke up and got him out of the wheelchair despite what any doctors told him and started training again just to get back in shape. Through a friend he found his way into ABC youth foundation and asked if they needed help around 2012 and he’s been volunteering here ever since!
Coach Robert “Bob” Boone grew up in Los Angeles, CA and received an AA from Pasadena City College. He has worked with youth development for the San Diego Unified School District in special education. He learned to box in the US Army where, after he retired, he has brought his skills to the ABC Youth Foundation in 2008.
David Torres is a USA Boxing Certified Coach. He goes by Coach D or Big D. He grew up in San Diego and received his high school diploma from The Charter School of San Diego. David joined ABC in 2012 when he was 15 years old as a boxer and later turned his talents towards coaching. He trained under Coach Moore, Coach Art Wilson, Coach Phil Applebaum and Coach Robert Boone.
Max Gardner is the head trainer at 9round Pacific Beach and has trained competitive at the amateur level of boxing for 4 years. Even though boxing is his passion, Max loves nothing more than working with kids in the community of San Diego.
Bobo Elliott is an active member of the Kumeyaay nation from the Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation located in San Diego. He was an amateur boxed when he was 16 years old. He participated in the 2006 Native American Olympics. He is active in his community and participates in his culture and traditions. ABC helped him out in his youth with problem solving and people skills.
Guilin is the son of former featherweight champion of the world Fray Bernard Mukenge who came to the US in 1993 and still had a few fights before retiring in Las Vegas. He was born and raised around boxing and it’s in his blood. Most of his uncles, friends and their families were boxers. Fifteen years ago, he met Billy and Art Wilson who welcomed him to ABC. He has been with ABC ever since. Although he never had a chance to be a world champion, he is here today to create world champions.
Since graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 2016, Andrea Stelten (Dre) has been studying and practicing the art of boxing religiously. She continues to put her heart into her training to become a skillful fighter, but her real passion lies in teaching. While living in Santa Cruz, she taught private boxing lessons and workshops where she cultivated a safe and respectful space for all who desired to learn. She has a particular aptitude for connecting with people from all backgrounds while instilling the learning environment with a positive, fun and uplifting atmosphere. Dre believes the kids are the future and is proud to be a part of the ABC team.
Arthur Wilson (Honorary Coach)
Arthur Wilson started boxing at the age of eleven at the UpTown Boxing Gym next to the Apollo Theatre in New York. Trained along side Doug Jones who later fought Muhammad Ali in a 10 round professional fight. Many watchers thought this was the hardest fight on Ali’s road to the championship. When he left UpTown Gym he went to train at the Department of Parks center called the Bath House. The trainer was George Gasket who trained a lot of amateur champions but didn’t want to train professionals because he felt there was a corruption of boxing. Under his training he was able to train along side several World Champions including Emile Griffith, Benny ‘Kid’ Paret and Dick Tiger. Arthur entered and won several amateur champions and stopped boxing after George Gasket died.
Over 40 years of training, Arthur had several National Championships and over 50 non advancing tournament championships. He is one of the leading coaches in San Diego and a Clinician, which is the highest ranking coaching level (Level IV) in San Diego. He is an Elite Coach for USABoxing San Diego. Arthur was also invited to travel with USABoxing to China, Russia, England, etc.
Coach Wilson passed away on June 20, 2019 but he will always be a part of ABC.
Ron Cota is a native San Diegan and 1962 Graduate of St. Augustine High School. He attended Cal-Poly on a football scholarship and graduated with a B.S. degree in 1966. He is married, has 3 children, and 5 grandchildren. He sold his financial advisory business in May of 2018 and his business acumen has inspired ABC students.
Woody Merrill is a retired California School Law attorney who has been a volunteer tutor for ABC since 2013. In addition to his law degree from UC Hastings College of Law, he has a master’s degree in military history from Norwich University. His multiple post high school degrees, including his college degree from the University of Kansas have served as a source of motivation for students who come to ABC for tutoring.
Michele Merrill is a retired public school human resources administrator who joined the tutoring program after she retired in 2017. Her many years of public school experience have helped ABC connect with education professionals who have assisted ABC.