MAMARONECK, N.Y. - You might not expect an Italian chef to trade basil for boxing gloves, but that’s just what Dean Bellantoni did four years ago when he opened up Mamaroneck’s LA Boxing. The New York Restaurant School graduate and former owner of Hastings’ Manzi Caterers says he always wanted to own a gym and the workout areas behind the franchise gave him the opportunity to do it.
LA Boxing combines martial arts, kickboxing and boxing—three styles of exercise Bellantoni has personal experience with. A lifetime fitness guru, he has achieved a black belt level in Kuk Sool Wan (a form of martial arts), and regularly participates in the North American Strongman Competition.
“I always wanted to open up my own club and I felt there was nothing like [LA Boxing] in the area,” he says.
The workout also boasts cardiovascular exercise and calorie-burning results you might not achieve on a treadmill, setting itself apart from the sea of other conventional facilities in the area. Plus, it’s a bit more fun in a classroom setting.
“It’s rewarding to see the results of people working out and the confidence they gain,” he says. “You change lives.”
Since the classes have many of the same regular attendees, Bellantoni says a bond forms between the members who regularly come to LA Boxing.
“People have created friendships here and members that never knew each other have the chance to—we’ve created a family here,” he says.
Bellantoni isn’t just talking about the kind of family that exists between members, though. His wife, Jacqueline, lends her services to the business as the on-site massage therapist.
When they aren’t working, the Bellantonis live in Harrison with their two-year-old son, Maximus. They are expecting a baby in January.