I'm Coach Steve Van De Walle

Steve Van De Walle (Red Corner) 1980. My first match was at our own gym, the Viscioni Tigers. 

We were always told by Bert Viscioni, that Jack Dempsey once fought in our ring. The very ring in this picture.

From Baseball to Boxing

At age 5, when my dad came home from work, he asked why I was so sad.  I told him I walked onto the baseball field at the park and they said I was too young to play. 

I had actually walked onto the field during the middle of a Little League game and the umpire ran me off the field. 

My dad asked if I wanted to go to the boxing gym instead.  I shrugged my shoulders and we went to the gym just a few blocks from our home. 

When we got to the gym, the head trainer and gym owner, an old Italian man named Bert Viscioni, grabbed my dad by the shirt and said, "You ready to start boxing!"

My dad said, "No not me, him," as he pointed down to me.  Bert asked how old I was and when my dad told him, he said I was "too young,"

and then told him to bring me back in a couple of years.  I looked down at the floor and then Bert said,

"Ok, bring the kid back tomorrow and we'll get him started."

My dad told me that boxing practice started before he got off work, so if I really wanted to go, I'd have to walk there by myself, once I got home from school.

  I went there the next day, fell in love with boxing and never quit going.  I ended up having about 30 exhibition matches

by the time I was 10 and old enough to have a sanctioned bout.

National Silver Gloves to U.S. Nationals

My first year entering the Silver Gloves I won State and Regionals and placed third at Nationals.   Since then these are some of my accomplishments:

  • I had close to 200 fights (including my exhibitions) over 18 years and since age 10 competed on a national level of competition. 
  • Won State and Regional Championships and continually qualified for Nationals over 13 years.
  • Won 3 National Championships at invitational tournaments in the Jr. Division.
  • Placed 3rd in the National Silver Gloves 3 times and competed in the Silver Gloves Nationals 4 times.
  • Competed in the 92’ Eastern Olympic Trials at the age of 17.
  • Placed 3rd in the 92’ PAL National Championships Men's division at 139 lbs.
  • Qualified to compete in the 93 Men’s U.S. National Championships at 139 lbs. (Didn't compete due to injury)

Near Death Experience!

On January 13th 1994 at the age of 18, my life changed forever when I was driving home from work. 

I fell asleep and had a head-on-collision with a double trailer semi-truck!  I nearly died that day and was left unable to walk for 1 year.

See a picture of this tragic experience during this short video clip.

Steve VanDeWalle Wins "All Army" (1998)

In August of 1996 I set out on a mission to return to the boxing ring as I joined the U.S. Army with hopes of making the Army’s World Class Athlete Program's Boxing Team.

I began competing in 1997 and then in 1998 began winning titles again.

  • 1998 All Army Champion at welterweight 147 lbs (67 kilos).
  • 1998 Armed Forces Champion at 147 lbs. (67 kilos).
  • 1998 Became an official member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program

I then went on to compete in the 1998 World CISM Games in Warrendorf Germany with some of the best boxers in the world.

From Wheelchair to Gold Medal in 4 Years

As I walked out into the stadium as they introduced one nation at a time, I couldn't believe that just four years before I was unable to walk!

This was a result of many people who helped me along my comeback journey.

On that day I realized that when you work with other like-minded people and are determined to put in the hard work required “All Things Are Possible…”

If you are still reading, I have no doubt that we are “like-minded-people.” And together, we make sure your reach you reach your goals.

I am committed to do the work and share everything I have learned over the past 37 years working with 8 Olympic coaches

in various training camps, tournaments, and learning from and training with some of the best boxing minds in the business.

I am also a lifelong student of this beautiful sport and promise to continue learning about boxing training and sharing everything

I learn from experience and study with you along the way.

Becoming a Boxing Trainer

In 1998, just a month after competing at the World CISM Boxing Championships in Germany, my injuries were catching up with me.

It became excruciating to continue doing the intense interval running and lower body plyometrics to prepare to compete at this elite level of competition.

I ended up competing one more time in a USA vs. Mexico dual and then had surgery on my knee in early 1999. 

I retired from boxing while still in my prime.  Before I left the Army World Class Athlete Program at Ft. Carson Colorado,

I told my coach, Basheer Abdullah (4x Olympic Coach) that I already missed boxing.  He looked me, and said,

"This might be your call to coaching."

A month later, I was back home in the Quad Cities and training my first boxing student, Joe Perez. 

A year later we were at the National Silver Gloves as Joe had won both State and Regionals.

It was just like being there for my first time, except this time I was outside the ropes. 

It was very fulfilling passing on things I had learned over my 18 year boxing career

to my young up and coming boxers.  Soon I had my own gym full of

soon to be champions.

Jr. Olympic State Champions

Jr. Olympic State Champions (Illinois). From Left to Right: Joe Perez (3x National Champion, former Team USA member in the World Series of Boxing, and current Professional), Abraham Flores (Ringside 123lb Open Champion, and soon to be professional prospect) Cruse Stewart (Former Resident Athlete at the Olympic Training Education Center in Marquette, Team USA member, and soon to be professional prospect ), and Ron Goldsmith.

As a boxing trainer I have trained state, regional, and national champions. I have also trained elite boxers that I started training from day one.  I started teaching each of them the fundamentals of the best stance for balance, footwork, and boxing "behind a feint and jab."  As they continued to advance I taught them strategies to box against various styles of boxers, counter punching, head movement, how to pot-shot, "catch and shoot," and many other advanced strategies and punching combinations.

In addition to this first hand experience inside the boxing ring and in the gym with competitive boxers, a few MMA fighters and one UFC fighter, I have also trained many beginning boxers, in boxing fitness classes for the past 12 years that included many women and men in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s.  None of these people ever boxed competitively but they all got in great shape, continually develop their boxing skills and always leave the gym “Feeling Like a Champ!

To this day I am still training beginners in boxing fitness classes, volunteer to work with some amateurs on occasion, and currently train professional boxers as well.

Since you have read al the way to the end of this page, I believe we share a common passion about much more than boxing.  We share the desire to continue learning, interacting with other positive people, and sharing what we have learned along this journey of life.  I am a school teacher and love teaching and helping my students improve their lives. But my first love is boxing, and I really look forward to sharing everything I’ve learned over the past 37 years and am still learning with you.

Keep Learning and “Training Like a Champ!”

I’m In Your Corner

Steve  VanDeWalle