Interviewed by Matthew Totsky
Photography by Jerry Zolynsky
Meet retired professional boxer and Bloomfield Township resident Scotty Buchzeiger. A native of Farmington Hills, Buchzeiger made a name for himself on the local boxing scene in the 1990s when he was mentored by James “Lights Out” Toney and managed by the first lady of Detroit boxing, Jackie Kallen, who ran the Galaxy Boxing Gym.
“I was an anomaly, a white Jewish fighter,” Buchzeiger says. “I started boxing later than most people. When I was 18, my uncle tried to get me into kickboxing, but I met Toney around that time. He would tease me about kickboxing, and then he took me under his wing and trained me and got me involved in boxing. I had four amateur fights, but because of my age we went to the pros fairly quickly. ”
Buchzeiger’s first professional fight was in 1993 in Detroit at the Holy Redeemer Church near Mexican Town. He boxed in 26 fights and finished with a career record of 13-12-1. “I started as featherweight and later won the Michigan Junior Lightweight title,” he says. “Most of my fights were in Detroit and at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but I also boxed in Vegas, Chicago, Pennsylvania and Mississippi.”
After his boxing career, Buchzeiger owned his own personal training company for 11 years; now he is a full-time stay-at-home dad for his three children, Ryan, Shane and Cody, ages 10, 7 and 5, respectively. In his spare time, he started a Facebook page dedicated to reviving interest in boxing in Detroit.
“We’re trying to bring life back to Detroit boxing,” he says. “We have a site called teambuckboxingtalk.com, which is like a boxing outlet for the area. It has fighter spotlights and health and nutrition articles.
“I consider myself an ambassador for the sport locally,” Buchzeiger adds. “For me, it’s about the passion for the sport and how much I care about it. Detroit has a rich boxing tradition with names like Joe Louis, Thomas Hearns, James Toney, Oba Carr and Bronco McKart. And now the next generation is here. There are some new names coming up the ranks — Domonique Dolton, Tony Harrison, Anthony Barnes and others — that fans should know about. I want to do my part to help them get noticed.”
Industry changes: The sport is different now than it was in my era. It’s in a bit of a rebuild mode. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, more big names were fighting each other and each fight was like an event. Today’s boxers are more focused on their careers and the business aspect of boxing.
Professionally speaking: It’s harder for fighters to promote themselves these days. When I was boxing, we had people making sure we got known. Detroit is still a huge farm for boxing, and I’m proud of that scene, but if you’re not in the boxing circle, how do you know what’s going on? That’s what I’m trying to help with. I want to make people aware that boxing in Detroit is still alive, and social media is great for that.
Proudest career accomplishment: Winning the Michigan Junior Lightweight championship against Chico Crout. I was fighting for the Galaxy Gym, and he was with Kronk, run by the legendary Emanuel Steward. There was a big rivalry between the gyms and we hated each other, but now we’re great friends. Winning that fight was a big deal for a kid from the suburbs. I’m also proud of fighting in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel on an undercard for Bernard Hopkins.
Passion for: That’s easy, my wife and my kids are my main passion. And, of course, I have a deep passion for boxing. It’s who I am, and it’s so hard to let go of it. It’s difficult to explain to someone who’s never done it. I love the competition and the thrill of the fight.
Life in Bloomfield Hills: We just moved here from Clarkston and it’s great. The city and community are wonderful and so are the people. We relocated for my kids’ education, and a lot of our family live in the area as well. It’s also a great place to network.
Favorite place to hang out: My wife and I train at Jabs boxing gym in Birmingham. We both enjoy eating out at a lot of the local restaurants like the Townhouse and Toast in Birmingham.
My perfect day: Going to the gyms here in Detroit, like Kronk and World’s Best Boxing Gym. It gives me a chance to connect with the new breed of boxers so I can bring the scene to life on my Facebook page and my webpage.
What most people don’t know about me: I love fashion and music. My dream would be to work as a professional DJ or fashion designer. NS