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Cunningham Slam: Boxing Twins in Marin City

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Cunningham Slam: Boxing Twins in Marin City

Peter Wynn

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As seven-figure bets were being placed in Las Vegas on boxing’s most-hyped fight in recent history, a bout between welterweight fighters Floyd Mayweather and Manny Paquiao, Da’von and Trey’Von Cunningham, junior twins at Tam, were home watching. Like most fans, the twins felt disappointed by the fight. “It was boring; it could have been better,” Trey’Von said. “It was kind of like a spar, they were going easy on each other instead of going at it.”
The twins differ from the average boxing fan in that they aspire to be the ones in the ring one day. “I want to do it as a career and win Golden Gloves. If that doesn’t work, I want to coach and teach other people,” Da’von said.
The twins have spent the last few years training at Manzanita Boxing Gym in Marin City, where they have found a strong, positive influence in their coach, known as “Boom.” “He’s always been there for me, he’s never led me wrong,” Trey’Von said of Boom. “He’s a good coach.”
The twins were inspired to box for a number of reasons. “Watching Muhammad Ali and wanting to do something instead of being out in the streets [was an inspiration],” Trey’Von said. “Instead of doing bad things out in the streets, I’m doing something productive. I wanted to train people and box.”
For Da’von, an urge to help others catalyzed his interest. “I always wanted to get into boxing since I was little. I didn’t like bullies bullying other people. I said ‘Alright, what can I do to help myself and help other people’” Da’von said. “Muhammad Ali wanted to keep bullies away by boxing; how about I box like Muhammad Ali?”
Being a boxer is a challenge the twins have embraced. Training is rigorous with few breaks.
“I run six miles every day, and jump rope for nine [to] 20 minutes,” Da’von said of his training routine. “I spar three to four times per week, and I hit the punching bag.” In a sport as intense as boxing, being in peak physical form is crucial for success. “I do a lot of ab workouts […] to take body shots and add resistance [to punches,” Trey’Von said.
Trey’Von has a perfect 3-0 in recorded matches. He won by a knockout in his first match, a moment that he describes as his proudest so far in his boxing career. The twins face high school-age boxers from other gyms around the Bay Area. In Trey’Von’s last match, he faced a boxer who trains at a San Rafael gym. He describes his best move as a body to head combination. Da’von has yet to fight in a recorded match, as his opponent on Saturday, May 30 stepped down before the match, but he has participated in 48 sparring matches and has yet to lose.
As a boxer, Trey’Von views Muhammad Ali as someone to learn from. He admires Ali’s tenacity and style. Both brothers look up to Floyd Mayweather for his defensive prowess. “I know people hate him, alright, because of the money, but he’s a real model for me. I like how he’s a defensive specialist, as they say. He thinks before he reacts,” Da’von said.
Both twins also look up to Oscar Mendoza, another boxer at Manzanita, who has served as an example for them. “He started way before me, like five years before I started. He’s always just attacking and attacking the whole time,” Trey’Von said. “It inspired me to go hard the whole time and push myself to the limit.”
Da’von echoed the sentiment, saying, “He has always been with us and he’s been supportive. He’s an important factor in our boxing career[s],” he said.
Da’von and Trey’Von happen to share a house with their biggest rivals, eachother. “It brings me a competition to make me do better, not to fight him though, but to make me reach my goals and challenge me,” Trey’Von said. Da’von views the rivalry the same way as his brother. “I always want to be better then my brother and he always wants to be better than me. We treat it like a game,” he said.
Family is a big part of boxing for the twins. Both brothers have gotten a lot of support from their parents, who have attended every match or event for each twin and donated old gloves or equipment for the gym for kids who needed them.
The two said that a fight between them is coming no time soon, but when asked who’s the better boxer, each replied “me.”

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