May 2009 Issue
Ohioan - John Drake
Gym Owner, Boxing Instructor
HOMETOWN: Originally from Gahanna, now lives in downtown Dayton.
PERSONAL: One son, Justin, 23.
WHERE YOU’LL FIND HIM: At Drake’s Downtown Gym, home of “Jab City Boxing” (www.jabcityboxing.biz
) which he owns and runs. Drake and several assistants run students at all levels through their paces with a full-body workout that includes punching bags and time in the ring.
HOW IT ALL STARTED: Drake began his career running bars and restaurants, and opened a gym as a change of pace. At the time, he specialized in spinning classes, but saw an opportunity with boxing when he moved to his current location in 2000.
WHY BOXING? “Because of the feeling and the high you get when people do the mitts — they’re pumped up. The main hook is people cheering you on when you’re in the middle of the ring. It’s very empowering; you feel energized.”
A NEAR-BRUSH WITH DEATH: Last year Drake almost died from complications of diverticulitis, an intestinal disease. While he was recovering from surgery, the gym’s members pitched in to help keep it running and also threw a potluck to raise money for his medical bills.
LOOKING FORWARD TO: Sixteen members of his gym are working toward trying out to box at the Ohio State Fair this summer, and he’s coaching them. “Actually, though, I’m looking forward to everything. I feel like that dude in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’”