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Champion fighter passes down wisdom

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FINISHING TOUCHES: Andrew Broomfield touches up the paint on a sign that will go outside Mongoose Boxing, Kickboxing and Karate Club.
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THE RING: The fighting ring is set up and ready to go in the newly opened Mongoose Boxing, Kickboxing and Karate Club in Gas City.
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WORLD CHAMP: Dennis “Mongoose” Roberts, owner of Mongoose Boxing, Kickboxing and Karate Club,talks about why he wanted to open his business.

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

GAS CITY — Dennis “Mongoose” Roberts isn’t shy about the fact that he’s a four-time world champion kickboxer. He put the title above the door of his boxing and martial arts club, Mongoose Boxing Club, which just opened at 243 E. Main St.

The club offers personal training and classes in boxing, kickboxing, karate, yoga, mixed martial arts and grappling.

Eventually, Roberts hopes, the space will also host fighting events. He says his Main Street building will be able to seat 400 once he has finished renovating the space.

Roberts already organizes kickboxing competitions in Central Indiana through his promotions company World Class Productions.

Roberts, originally from Memphis, now lives in Marion, and he has spent his time so far in the area working to inspire new fighters and instill in them the passion for the “art” of fighting that he developed as a young teen.

Anyone can learn to fight, according to Roberts. “We’re ages 4 and up,” he said.

Rob Davis, owner of Big Rob Fitness, located next door to Mongoose Boxing Club, has been training with Roberts for several weeks.

“He’ll wear you out,” Davis said. “He pushes you, he knows what he’s doing.”

The gym owner said he and Roberts have been friends for some time, and they are trying to “feed off” one another’s energy, rather than see one another as competitors in the fitness market.

Several years ago Roberts started Mongoose Karate Club. He’s taught students at the Grant County Boys and Girls Club, in church basements, at Lakeview Christian School and at the Blackford County YMCA.

The world champion fighter said martial arts are a great way to get fit – physically and mentally.

“It’s not just about the physical aspects, it’s also mental, learning how to focus and concentrate, set goals and reach those goals,” Roberts said.

Fighting is an art to Roberts. But it’s also practical.

Andrew Broomfield, a former cage fighter and boxer who is helping Roberts open the club, said martial arts is a great skill for older generations or other vulnerable people who may be concerned about safety.

“It gives you confidence, like if you’re walking to your car and someone’s following you, you know what you can do,” Broomfield said.

“Even if you’re in a wheelchair I can show you self-defense,” Roberts promised.

He said he is planning to have classes for seniors.

“We will not leave out anyone who wants to stay fit or anyone who wants to stay comfortable protecting themselves in their home,” Roberts said.

Davis said he wants to fight at least once, so that he can say he’s done it.

“The more I do it, the more I think it’s fun,” Davis said. “It’s a different way to get exercise than just being on a treadmill.”

Mongoose Boxing, Kickboxing and Karate Club is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Personal training is by appointment only.