Less than a year ago, Minnesota alum Caleb Truax thought he had his immediate future all laid out in front of him.
He would soon be graduating from Minnesota with a degree in sociology and, while fighting as an amateur boxer, he was also training to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
But fate had other plans in store for Truax.
The end of the beginning
It turns out that the same event that inspired Truax to take up boxing would eventually lead to the end of his amateur career.
After transferring back home to Minnesota with an injured knee – which Truax suffered while playing football at Virginia State as a freshman – the Osseo native got his start in boxing when he saw an advertisement for a Toughman tournament, a usual starting point for novice boxers.
Unfortunately for Truax, his performance in the competitions meant he lost his status as an amateur boxer, although he was only made aware of the issue in recent months, after he had fought in 34 fights as an amateur.
“At the time, I didn’t know that being in a Toughman negated my amateur status,” Truax said. “I wasn’t supposed to be an amateur at all but nobody thought about it, and I didn’t know it was a problem.”
But last December, the matter was brought to the attention of the USA Boxing Committee, which ruled against Truax and terminated his status as an amateur.
After losing his amateur status and seeing his Olympic dream whisked away, Truax’s only move was to turn pro if he wanted to continue his boxing career.
Truax will get his first taste of the professional field April 6 at the Target Center, when he will fight as a Super Middleweight on the undercard of the event titled “Heavyweight Invasion.”
The 2006 Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Champ has been dubbed “Golden” Caleb Truax by fight promoter Tony Grygelko in part because of his recent success in the ring, but also because his pro debut will come just down the road from his alma mater of Minnesota.
“Caleb bleeds maroon and gold,” Grygelko said.
Truax is training for his debut at ACR Boxing in Coon Rapids, the same gym he began his training at nearly three years ago.
Under the tutelage of Ron Lyke and Tom Halstad, Truax has transformed into a potential prospect.
“Caleb has great focus and awareness in the ring, which probably comes from the other sports he’s played,” Halstad said. “In boxing, if you can see what the other guy is going to do before he even does it, it’s a huge advantage.”
Truax spends as many as 16 hours a week training for his debut, and as fight night approaches, Halstad said his fighter is living up to his moniker of “Golden.”
“He always steps it up before a fight, usually the last two or three weeks you can really see him put everything together and get focused,” Halstad said.
“Lately his punches have been real crisp, his footwork has been good, and I think he’s really going to put on a show.”
Grygelko agrees on Truax’s potential.
“He’s the proverbial real deal,” Grygelko said. “He’s got speed, power, conditioning, but the biggest attribute he has is that he can work hard and that is an attribute of a champion.”
A “Golden” deal
To help promote the fight, Grygelko and Seconds Out Boxing have brought in Showtime to cover the main event of the night between Travis Walker and George Garcia for the International Boxing Association Americas Heavyweight Title.
Truax’s fight won’t appear on the network, however, a special promotion of two tickets for the price of one is being offered to University students in hopes of attracting students from Truax’s alma mater.
Grygelko hopes that the promotions will give Truax and other Minnesota boxers more national attention, something he said is long past due.
“For a long time, Minnesota talent wasn’t getting respect or exposure,” Grygelko said. “We have a lot of phenomenal athletes coming out of the boxing circuit.”