SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Inside the Scottsdale Boxing Club works Vassiliy Jirov, the very first person ever to win a gold medal for his native country of Kazakhstan.

Jirov took the top honor in 1996 for boxing.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Jirov. “When I got to the top of the world and put on the gold, I wanted to cry, to laugh, just all for the emotions wanting to come out from the experience.”

Jirov, who is retired, still trains in the Valley at the Scottsdale Boxing Club located at 10810 N. 101st Pl.

I got the chance to meet him and put on some gloves to train like a champ.

“Are you right-handed?” said coach Fidel Hernandez.

Hernandez was a professional boxer who retired in 2001. He recently fought again on October 14, 2017, after a 16 year layoff.

“When you punch – watch me – you’re going to step with this foot,” he said.

I’m as talented as an uncoordinated novice, so it took a lot of time and patience to get some of the moves down.

Coach Fidel taught me the basics: hook, jab and cut. The 20 minute exchange, alone, was enough to break a sweat.

The gym does offer training and unlimited classes that range from $59 - $79 per month.

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