Bud Bruner Founder of Bruner’s Headline Boxing Gym

Sometimes the coach is more impressive than the student!!


Bud Bruner (December 7, 1907 – February 21, 1996) was a trainer, manager and gym proprietor from Louisville, Kentucky. His participation in boxing began in the 1930s while he was employed by the City of Louisville Recreation Department. He was responsible for playground tournaments, followed by district and city championships.

Bruner became athletic director at the Army Post in Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1939. His responsibilities included setting up and supervising several boxing gyms, organizing and supervising numerous boxing shows and tournaments, and selecting and accompanying a Fort Knox representative team to State Golden Gloves Tournaments.

After seven years in Fort Knox, Bruner resigned and returned to Louisville. He served as matchmaker for the Louisville Golden Gloves Tournament from 1951 to 1959. He was also matchmaker for the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Boxing Trials and for William H. King Promotions.

Bruner opened the Headline Boxing Gym in 1952 and started managing and training boxers. He trained fourteen Kentucky State Golden Gloves Champions, eight of whom were named the best boxer of the tournament.

His most notable boxers were welterweight contender Rudell Stitch, future WBA World Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Ellis, whom Bruner trained and managed for his first twenty professional fights, and Mayfield Pennington, who defeated former World Welterweight and Middleweight Champion Emile Griffith.

Muhammad Ali occasionally trained at Bruner’s gym. When Ali turned professional, Bruner arranged for Tunney Hunsaker to be his first opponent. Bruner also worked Hunsaker’s corner for the fight, which Ali won by a six-round decision.

Bruner continued to manage and train boxers until the fall of 1994.

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