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When Your Outlaw Biker Buds Can’t Fight
Primordial Human Resources Development With Dante Justine


Boxing has long been used as an informal conditioning method by members of men’s clubs and other organizations in the U.S., England, and Ireland. I have been involved in some of this activity. I recently discovered that a man I trained twenty years ago is maintaining this fistic urban tradition in rural Maryland.

Back in the day Banno was the dude that came for you when your drug supplier was not pleased with your payment schedule, or your indiscretions, or that talk you had with that cop. While he was in prison in the 80s and 90s I coached his two oldest boys. His second son, Dante, the welterweight, was the stud of the brood. He is now the brawling instructor for the motorcycle club he rides with. I am not at liberty to divulge their name, but a rival club by the name of the Iron Horsemen came looking for them recently in a Pennsylvania bar, with tire irons, flashlights, and pad locks, and waylaid members of another club—first class intelligence work that was boys. Genghis would have been disappointed.

We met at my granddaughter’s birthday party and I began by inquiring as to his boxing activity and he took it from there:

“You know, I haven’t sparred with anyone who knows what they are doing for a while, not since my last boxing match [2 years ago]. I’d love to work with your new boy. It would be a pleasure to work on skill. The basement is a full-service boxing gym—I’ve got it all. Now the dudes I ride with, they all look big and bad—they tower over me. Big scary looking tattooed guys. You now, urrrg! But if I’m going to be out with you I need to know you can throw down. I mean, whoever is in front of me, that is what it is—they’re going to sleep. But in the meantime, I don’t need to by getting blindsided, stabbed, shot, whatever. That is one reason why I leave at midnight. All your stupid shit happens after one, all of the real stupid shit after two. By then I’m home with my daughter. And when I meet up with these dudes they’re like, 'You know as soon as you left, shit went bad.’ I’m like, ‘whew, thank God.’

“Enough stupid shit is going to happen—no sense in sticking around to make sure it happens. Besides, with the number of pussies who can’t fight these days, a gun comes out sooner or later. Anyway, I bring these three guys into the basement—you know, it’s the off season, no grass yet, trees all trimmed, so my helper and two club members come over to box.

“Okay, I can see you like hitting the bag, ‘cause the bag doesn’t hit back. I like the bag too. But that’s not boxing, and sure as heck ain’t fighting! I say, ‘Okay, no hittin’ the bag. You guys aren’t allowed to hit the bag until you spar with me.’

“It still bothers me about losing my second fight to Tony Cygan ‘cause I was stupid and listened to Jake and fought sick—had the flu. You were right, of course, I should have sat my ass home. I tap into that to this day, when I need to bring it.

“So, my helper, he’s a big boy, a heavyweight—hell, they’re all heavyweights these days; can’t find anybody under six-foot and two-hundred. He brings it; no technique, but he does try to hurt you. It’s crude, but at least with him trying to kill me I get some real work in. After the first round though, he’s done, all stressed out from meat-hooking those punches, pushing with his strength. I know I used to go there, and used to get tired when I was a kid. So now I’ve got to get these adult guys relaxed and they’re shitting themselves when the leather starts to fly. [Dante has ‘sick’ power and has knocked out over 20 men in and out of the ring.]

“Now my club members—Oh My God! Big and tough looking as I don’t know what. You can smell the hesitation though [Dante can because he is a predator.] I say, ‘Look, I’m not looking for technique. I just want to know that you’re going to be there by my side throwing punches until I get rid of what’s in front of me. You don’t have to box. Just look at me and imagine that I just raped your mother! Now come and get it.’

“Then, a few minutes later, I haven’t even been touched—and it’s not like I’m the kind of fighter you have to look for—and I’m like, ‘I guess you guys don’t like your mothers very much! What did she beat you every day?’ Anyhow, that’s the process. I’d be glad to work with your boy—it would be an honor to actually throw hands with a guy that can fight; a guy with some skill.”

Dante then sat his new girl down next to me. I immediately discovered that she had something between her ears that most of his babes had not possessed. It turns out she is an accountant and is reorganizing his business. She even got him on a federal contracts register. I stopped her and said, “You have told him that he can’t just beat the shit out of his help on a federal jobsite, right?”

She was on it. “Yes, that’s why we’re stressing the fight club thing with his friends. It gives him an outlet.”

That’s a good girl. I hope he keeps her around.

Add Comment
alex konstantarasMarch 6, 2015 8:17 AM UTC

Correction.Banno from THE LOGIC OF STEEL not the fighting edge.
responds:March 6, 2015 1:58 PM UTC

Correct you are sir.

By the way, Banno was 'the guy' who took me to the ER after those two goons worked me over in The Fighting Edge, and made the joke about my new tennis shoes not having done me any good.
alex konstantarasMarch 6, 2015 7:34 AM UTC

I am not sure if the gentleman in the article, is the son of Banno with the great stories from THE FIGHTING EDGE,but if he is and he has inherited his father's genes,coupled with boxing training and abillity we are looking at a specimen combining the best of both worlds( regarding fighting abillity).The insticts of the natural fighter,with the skills of a highly trained boxer.A very dangerous man in a fight indeed.Good that he has an outlet!
responds:March 6, 2015 2:00 PM UTC

Yes, this is Dante, 37 year old son of Banno, who is now deceased.