If My Mind Can Conceive It & My Heart Can Believe It,


- Muhammad Ali


December 1, 2016
Filed Under: Boxing News

Legendary Canadian boxing coach Teodorescu, 73, succumbs to cancer

Steve Buffery_op

BY TORONTO SUN (View Original Post)


Adrian Teodorescu guided Lennox Lewis to a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun files)

Adrian Teodorescu guided Lennox Lewis to a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun files)

I first met boxing coach Adrian Teodorescu in the mid 1980’s when he opened a gym on The West Mall in Etobicoke.

After giving us a tour, Teodorescu opened a closet to reveal a mattress and sleeping bags on the floor. He explained matter-of-factly that a couple of his fighters from out of town lived in the closet and it was an ideal set up because they didn’t have far to travel to the gym … about 12 feet as a matter of fact. He then showed us the hot plate the fighters used to cook their food and the fridge where they stored their drinks.

“You see,” Teodorescu said, in his thick Romanian accent. “It’s perfect”, though the city’s bylaw department might have disagreed. But as Domenic Filane, one of his former fighters said this week, Teodorescu was old-school. Why make a poor kid from out of town pay rent when they can sleep in the gym closet for free?

“There were rumours that some guys were sleeping under the ring as well,” said Filane, with a laugh. “I’m not going to mention any names. But there were some guys who were there when I arrived at six in the morning and they were there when I left at midnight.”

Sadly for Filane and others in the Canadian boxing community, Teodorescu passed away on Wednesday at Toronto’s Mt. Sinai Hospital after a battle with Lymphoma. He was 73. Teodorescu ran the famed Atlas Boxing Club near Yorkdale Mall with his wife Gina and son Armand and was considered one of the best amateur boxing coaches, not only in Canada, but in the world.

One of Teodorescu’s boxers who slept at the gym was future world professional super bantamweight champion Steve Molitor, who came from Sarnia to train with Teodorescu as an amateur.

“I lived in a rat hole for two years. We used to call it The Cage,” Molitor told the Toronto Sun in 2007. “It was hell. I had no money. I had to get a part-time job as a host at Casey’s. On the other hand, that was part of growing into a man. You had to suffer. I actually look back at those days now fondly.”

Molitor and Filane, a two-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist, were two of many Canadian fighters who enjoyed tremendous international success under Teodorescu, who has had more success at Olympic Games than any coach in Canadian boxing history. He has had a hand in every medal won by Canada in Olympic boxing since 1988 — including helping to guide Lennox Lewis to the super-heavyweight title at the 1988 Seoul Games. Other boxers who trained under the “Romanian dictator” (as Teodorescu jokingly described himself) and won medals at Olympics included middleweight Egerton Marcus in Seoul (1988) and middleweight Chris Johnson and light-welterweight Marc Leduc in Barcelona (1992). Teodorescu also coached boxers who won other major competitions, including Kitchener’s Mandy Bujold and Arthur Biyarslanov — gold medallists at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games.

“He was everything to me,” Bujold said. “From the minute I met Adrian he was just so loving, so caring, always had a smile on his face and was just so knowledgeable. He wasn’t your average boxing coach.”

Bujold was one of many who began boxing in towns outside of Toronto and gravitated to the Atlas Gym to train under Teodorescu when their career needed a final push.

“I had the opportunity to spend the last 31/2 years with him just about every day and his passion and love for the sport rubbed off on me,” said Bujold, who realized how seriously ill her coach was when she began training again at the Atlas following this summer’s Rio Olympics.

“He was too weak and tired and cold (to get into the ring),” she said. “So he coached from his office sitting in the heat, giving me hand signals. I almost broke down because I realized I was his therapy. I could see him smiling. It was a weird feeling. That’s when I knew it was serious.”

Lewis, who after winning the 1988 Olympics went on to capture the heavyweight championship of the world, was originally coached by Arnie Boehm in Kitchener as a teenager when he arrived from his native England. But it was Teodorescu who helped Lewis take that next step to an Olympic gold. Lewis said last year that he couldn’t have imagined not having Teodorescu in his corner in Seoul. Despite his success, Teodorescu was often at odds with the hierarchy at Boxing Canada. As Bujold explained, he came from a background where the coach was all-ruling. Teodorescu had trouble following directions from people he thought did not have his fighter’s best interest at heart. There were times when he placed numerous boxers on the national team but was left off the coaching staff for major Games.

“He took a lot of heat and not everybody loved him (at Boxing Canada), but that comes with success,” Filane said. “There was a lot of jealousy. He was old school. It was his way or no way. And most of the time he was right, but they don’t like to hear that.

“When people asked him about God and religion, he told them that boxing is his religion and that the boxing gym is his church,” said Armand Teodorescu. “And that’s where we’re going to have his memorial service.”

Adrian has taught us all how to fight. Now, after a long battle with lymphoma, we’re fighting to save his legacy – Atlas Boxing Club. Adrian is a friend and boxing legend who gave his life to boxing. Now he and his family need us to be in his corner. Please use link below to donate to Adrian’s campaign.