Family and friends remember legendary Toledo boxing trainer

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:35 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Friends and family gathered at Savage Park on Wednesday to remember a legendary Toledo boxing trainer.

Coach William Griffin connected with some of the best fighters from Toledo and all over the world. His boxers say Coach Griffin was always on time and opened the gym every day at 4 p.m. His legacy will live on at Central City Boxing.

When it came to boxing, Coach William Griffin, also known as Coach Griff, wore many hats at Central City Boxing. He coached Team USA when they took on Cuba, and he trained champions like Toledo’s own Lindell Holmes.

“To training Robert Easter Sr, which correlates to his son, Robert Easter, Junior, he touched the Bell family, the Holmes family, the Easter family, and all the other great fighters,” said professional boxer Albert Prince Bell. “And like I said, part of Detroit Kronk with many, many legendary fighters such as Tommy Hearns, etc.”

According to Bell, the boxing coach had a heart attack at the gym on March 14.

“He probably didn’t want to go no other way,” said Bell. “He got to open up for us one more time and being around his team, being in the place that he loved, that he’s been at every single day for the past 21 to 22 years.”

Bell said Coach Griff also helped keep kids off the streets.

“He was in control of the Splash pad outside with all the kids and the rest of the park,” said Bell. “You’re giving them a safe haven for two to three hours a day. When they’re with you, you know they’re not in trouble because they’re there doing something positive. Those life lessons that they learned here, the discipline that they learned in this gym up under his guidance and toolage, carry all throughout their life, and probably took something away from here, even if they didn’t make it to boxing.”

Bell says he will miss Coach Griff’s laughter and conversations about life after boxing.

Coach Griff was 89 years old.

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