Board of Directors


Matchmaker, Manager, Trainer, Cutman

Steven J. Canton has been involved in every aspect of boxing for over 65 years. Steve started boxing in the Police Boy’s Club at age 11 in New York City.  He has traveled the world, thanks to the Sweet Science, and has made friends wherever he has gone.

Not only did Steve have a very successful amateur and professional career, but he became an ardent boxing enthusiast in the process. He has promoted and been a matchmaker of fights all over the world. Steve has worked as a ring announcer, television commentator, judge, referee, and timekeeper. He co-hosted a popular Las Vegas based boxing radio talk show with James “Smitty” Smith for seven years. He wrote a monthly Florida column for Flash/Update for many years. Steve has had numerous articles published in The International Boxing Digest, Boxing World, and many major web sites. He is a world-class cutman and trainer and has worked with some of the best fighters, trainers, managers, matchmakers and promoters in the world.  Steve was inducted into the inaugural class of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame as a Trainer/Manager, on June 27, 2009, and now serves as the President.

Steve started the SJC Boxing Club, Inc. in Fort Myers, Florida in 1989, and promoted amateur shows every other month, featuring mostly out of state teams vs. Florida. Most of the shows were televised on local cable television.  During a two-year period his gym produced 28 Florida State Gold Medalists, 6 Regional, and 1 National Champion.

Steve is well respected in the boxing community as a historian and is a voting member on the committee that elects new inductees for the International Boxing Hall of Fame, in both the modern and old-timer categories. He is also a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO), which consists of approximately 150 esteemed boxing historians worldwide.

Steve promoted the first casino boxing in the state of Florida. He promoted the first broadcast of live boxing on the internet, which was transmitted throughout the world. It was watched by over 250,000 people in 15 different countries and received writeups in International Boxing Digest and other publications. He also promoted the first pay-per-view telecast of boxing in the Caribbean.

Steve is the author of the highly acclaimed book, “Steve Canton’s Tributes, Memories & Observations of the Sweet Science”, and he is currently working on another book.

Beth Langston Canton

Known as “Steve’s wife”, Beth is a former business owner, homeowner association administrator, and almost forty-year resident of Fort Myers. Now retired, she has the time and energy needed to support the activities of SJC Boxing. She enthusiastically works behind the scenes assisting Steve with day-to-day tasks involved with running the gym. She is an instrumental contributor of the SJC Boxing after-school mentoring program. Beth offers the Board of Directors organizational skills, graphics design and office experience.

Telephone/Text (239) 410-6448

John P. Fernandez
Business Litigation and Trial Attorney (Retired)

John brings over 25 years of business law experience to the board of directors. His legal experience helps ensure that SJC Boxing Club, Inc. is properly governed as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization, including solicitation of funds within the State of Florida and providing appropriate financial statements to donors and governmental entities. In addition to serving as a board member, John also serves as the corporation’s Secretary responsible for organizing board meetings and preparing official Minutes for the corporate record book.

John has been a boxing fan since 1971 when one of his uncles showed him a newspaper photo of Joe Frazier standing over a fallen Muhammad Ali in what was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” As a teenager, John trained at the famous West End Gym in Lowell, Massachusetts, boxing competitively in AAU and Golden Glove tournaments. John joined the Marine Corps after high school, occasionally competing in amateur boxing events (called “smokers”) held at various military bases.

Today, John shares his love of boxing and fitness with young people at the SJC Boxing Gym, serving as an assistant boxing coach under Hall of Fame trainer, Steve Canton, and managing the gym’s competitive amateur boxing team. Please feel free to contact John to learn more about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities with the gym’s amateur boxing team.

Email: john@johnfernandezlaw.com
Text/Phone: (919) 601-5028

Philip Spencer
Founder – Process Research and Optimization, LLC

Phil has been in the management consulting industry for the last 35 years helping many of America’s most recognized companies improve their operational effectiveness and customer service levels. His operations experience enables him to support SJC Boxing on business issues encountered by the gym.  Phil has been a continuous financial supporter of the gym for the last 13 years.

Phil began his love for boxing as a 10-year-old when his next-door neighbor, a competitive amateur fighter, introduced him to the sport where he grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Phil’s work takes him to many cities around the world and he has trained in boxing gyms in Mexico City, London, Buenos Aires, Budapest, and Dublin but he counts his experiences with the SJC Boxing “old school” technique as the best training he has ever received.

This experience with scores of boxing gyms in the United States and abroad enables him to determine that in his travels he has seldom seen a boxing gym that supports the community and its youth like SJC Boxing.

Bob Urtis
SJC board member and mentoring coach

Born and raised in Rochester, NY, Bob Urtis retired from the Rochester Police Department in 2014 as an Investigator after 36 years of dedicated service with that organization. During that tenure, Bob was assigned to various assignments and task forces to include patrol, narcotics, violent crimes, firearms suppression, Special Weapons and Tactics ( SWAT) and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after the 9/11 terror attacks. Bob holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Rochester Institute of Technology, and since his retirement, he and his wife Terry have established their residency in Cape Coral, Florida.

Bob started formalized boxing training well before his career as a police officer, at former professional boxer Ossie Sussman’s boxing gym on Monroe Avenue in Rochester, where Mr. Sussman introduced and methodically taught the Sweet Science to literally thousands of youth. As a police officer, Bob represented the Rochester Police Department when he boxed in the New York State Police Olympics held in 1980 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.

Later, Bob volunteered as an assistant boxing coach with his mentor and Rochester boxing legend “Coach Dom” Arioli at their former Alma Mater Aquinas Institute’s “Mission Bouts”, an organized high school intramural boxing program which is still in existence since its inception in 1932. That program has gained such notoriety, success, and national recognition over the years that in 1994, heavyweight legend Muhammad Ali himself visited Rochester to come and see our bouts. Most recently in March of 2022, boxing legend Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini came to the Mission Bouts and was honored as the Emcee. Coach Dom currently owns the highly reputable ROC BOXING GYM in Rochester, where Bob had further assisted in teaching boxing fundamentals to hundreds of clientele of all ages and genders.

Upon relocating to southwest Florida, Bob joined SJC Boxing in 2016, training under the tutelage of SJC’s Founder and Director, Steve Canton. Having become a close friend and confidant of Steve, Bob was asked to become an SJC board member and mentoring coach, which he heartily accepted.

Cindy Banyai
SJC board member and mentoring coach

Gary Donabed
SJC board member and mentoring coach

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SJC Boxing Club, Inc. offers many opportunities to learn about boxing and participate.

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