Pro boxer builds Palatine business, career

  • Achour Esho

    Achour Esho

  • Professional boxer Achour Esho lands a hook on competitor Jermaine Sanders during a bout in 2006.

    Professional boxer Achour Esho lands a hook on competitor Jermaine Sanders during a bout in 2006. COURTESY OF FLO FITNESS AND MARTIAL ARTS

  • Professional boxer Achour Esho, in white shirt and black shorts, owns FLO Fitness and Martial Arts in Palatine and conducts a class with some students last week.

    Professional boxer Achour Esho, in white shirt and black shorts, owns FLO Fitness and Martial Arts in Palatine and conducts a class with some students last week. COURTESY OF FLO FITNESS AND MARTIAL ARTS

  • Professional boxer Achour Esho, in white shirt and black shorts, owns FLO Fitness and Martial Arts in Palatine and conducts a class with some students last week.

    Professional boxer Achour Esho, in white shirt and black shorts, owns FLO Fitness and Martial Arts in Palatine and conducts a class with some students last week. COURTESY OF FLO FITNESS AND MARTIAL ARTS

  • Stephanie Skelley

    Stephanie Skelley

  • Christopher McCleary

    Christopher McCleary

  • Ronald Stenger

    Ronald Stenger

  • Scott Magnesen

    Scott Magnesen

 
 
Updated 9/19/2016 9:34 AM

When Achour Esho left his native Syria as a youngster, he never expected one day to become a professional boxing champion and then a business owner.

The founder of Palatine-based Flo Boxing and Martial Arts now aims to expand the business, help more men, women and children become fit and learn the art of boxing.

 

Despite his love for the sport, he decided to stop professional boxing about 5 years ago so he could focus more on building his business. Then he decided to do one more thing. Return to the ring. He won a match in August, and now he aims to fight what may be his last professional bout Oct. 1 at the UIC Pavilion.

"I may stop again for the same reasons that I stopped about five years ago," said Esho. "As professional boxers, you're risking your brain for a little money. It doesn't pay as much as people think. But I wanted to see if I could come back. I just needed something to keep me going, something that drives me."

Esho is undefeated as a professional boxer at 11-0, including seven knockouts, competing in the Golden Gloves and earning the American Boxing Federation statewide title in 2003. He is classified as a super welter weight at 154 pounds. He also was the regional champion in the International Kickboxing Federation, winning 6-0, in 1997.

Yet Esho also is realistic. He is now 36 and most competitors in his weight class are in their 20s. While he still has the drive, he also wants to be around for his wife Krystal and two daughters. Their dreams are his dreams, he says.

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His dream started when his family came to the Chicago area when he was 4. They lived in Chicago and then Skokie, where he started to learn kickboxing. As he won fights, and reached the regional championship title, he wanted to switch to boxing.

That's when he competed in the Golden Gloves and earned the American Boxing Federation statewide title in 2003.

By the time he reached 25, he wanted to turn pro.

"There comes a time when you have to step up," he said.

He did his first professional fight in 2006 and continued fighting, including seven knockouts over the next five years.

By 2011, he wanted to take a break and focus on his business, Flo Boxing. He now has 16 employees and plans to hire more. He is also considering some plans to open more gyms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While he makes plans for the business, he wanted to make plans for himself by returning to the ring to see what happens.

"I feel right at home in the gym," he said. "And I want others to feel that, too. It's not necessarily to fight, but a place to exert energy, relieve stress and then go home."

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• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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