Friday, June 09, 2023  |



Abel Sanchez details first encounter with Gennady Golovkin

Veteran trainer Abel Sanchez ties the gloves of his prize pupil Gennady Golovkin. Photo / @GGGBoxing
Fighters Network

In April 2010, California-based trainer Abel Sanchez received a life-changing phone call from Oleg Hermann, the manager of future-unified middleweight titleholder, Gennady Golovkin.

Hermann and his brother, Max, were eager to meet Sanchez because they had a fighter who wished to see his gym, The Summit, which is located in Big Bear, Calif.

“They told me his name but I had no clue who he was,” Sanchez told

“They came up on a Saturday at 1:00 p.m with Gennady and he had some videos with him. The two managers decided to go out and see the town and we sat down and looked at the videos. In his limited English and my limited Russian, we were able to communicate and I told him what I thought he could do different to make that fight better or easier.

“Three hours later the managers came back, we go to dinner and talked some more. When I came home I got on the computer and was like, ‘Wow, this guy’s an Olympic silver medallist (Athens 2004), he had 350 amateur fights and lost only five and he’s coming to see me.’

“It’s 10/12 years since I worked with Orlin and Terry Norris. That can’t be what they were looking at. How did they come up with my name?”

The next day Sanchez met the Herman brothers and Golovkin for breakfast, but his time his mood was different. He was very excited at the prospect of working with the former amateur star.

Golovkin and his braintrust departed but did inform the trainer they’d see him in a couple of months. Sanchez admits to being sceptical, but he spent those months talking to his friend about the Kazakhstani boxer who had visited the gym.

“Two months later I get a call from one of the managers asking me if I’d pick Gennady up at the airport,” said Sanchez chuckling. “I honestly pulled the phone away from my ear. I’m laughing, thinking someone’s playing a joke.

“The next day I picked Gennady up and we’ve been together ever since. It’s been remarkable because of what we’ve done.”

Golovkin had previously visited Freddie Roach at the Wild Card, Robert Garcia in Oxnard and a host of other gyms around the U.S.

Sanchez believes his gym offered Golovkin a piece of home.

“When he saw my gym; the solitude, being private and the surroundings, which were a lot like his home country, with the trees, the snow, he fell in love with it,” Sanchez explained.

“I think if I had not had the gym, Gennady Golovkin and I would not be together regardless of my history. I think he saw home, that was the first part of it and then we clicked so everything worked out well.”

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at