Sonny Westbrook, boxing coach of The Kona Boxing Club, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Born in Samoa, SONNY'S parents and 11 siblings moved to Hawaii when he was a boy. Sonny’s father, a 6’3 South Seas heavy weight champion would box for a bag of groceries to feed his family. Sonny along with his 9 brothers, all with the middle name George, followed in their Dad’s footsteps. Sonny who started boxing at 8 years old went on to compete in 4 national Golden Glove championships, traveling all over the mainland and the world. After retiring he has gone on to train hundreds of fighters including Kona native and former MMA EliteXC Lightweight World Champion and professional boxer, KJ Noons. For over 20 years Sonny has been opening the door of his gym, The Kona Boxing Club, training and setting up tournaments for kids and young people, helping to get them off the streets and out of trouble. “What you give, you get in return", says Sonny. Sonny juggles working on the island including as a bouncer at a club in town, with his boxing world as well as appearing on the reality television series "Dog and Beth on the Hunt", currently airing on CMT. He is foremost, Dad to his 3 daughters and son.
A 21 year old fighter from the tough streets of Philly, Kevin started fighting for Sonny at age 13 and has traveled back and forth between Hawaii and Philly a few times over the years. At one point, when he steered away from boxing he got into trouble. Now, back in Philly he is working hard and sees himself potentially opening and running a gym.
Kai and Luana
Ten year old Kai is the son of boxers and considers Sonny his grandpa, calling him “Papa Sonny". He spends a lot of time with Sonny outside the gym, having dinner, talking and spending quality time together. He excels in every sport he participates in which in addition to boxing includes football, swimming, surfing, roller hockey and basketball. In January 2013 he won his first sanctioned fight on The Big Island. His mother describes him as “fearless" and as a boy who gives 100% to everything he does.
LUANA is Kai’s mother and a former boxer and trainer who met Sonny when she was 7 years old. As a teen she was sent to Toronto by her Mother who thought she needed to be “less of a tomboy", to study ballet. In Canada in 1994 she met her boxing coach who started training her for the 2004 Olympics when it was hoped women’s boxing would be entered as an exhibition sport. She is currently on the Echo City Knock Outs roller derby team in Kona and trains in the same complex as The Kona Boxing Club. While she hopes Kai can get a boxing scholarship she does not wish for him to become a professional boxer.
Kaleo and his son, Canaan
KALEO, one of the first boxers of the KBC comes from a family of boxers and has competed in Hawaii and the mainland over the years. He goes to the Kona Boxing Club everyday when he is on the island, to stay in shape and help out some of the kids training at the club. He learned hard lessons the hard way, but as he explains, Sonny was always there for him- through the good and the bad. Kaleo is a father and family man and runs the company One Slap Entertainment. In addition he joins Sonny in giving talks to young people on the causes and effects of drug abuse. Currently he also appears, besides Sonny on the reality series, “Dog and Beth On the Hunt" on CMT.
Marc in Lulu's
Kona native, MARC met Sonny while he was a young teen in foster care and began fighting for Sonny. When Marc was going through rough times Sonny invited him to stay at his house and became a father figure to him and his brother. Sonny has been a role model for Marc in raising his own kids and has helped him since as far back as he can remember by helping get him jobs, checking in with him and always giving tough love. The KBC gave Marc a brotherhood that remains strong to this day. While his priorities are different nowadays his heart will always be in boxing and he always returns to the sport and to the KBC.
A 16 year old high school student from Alaska who’s family moved to Kona within 2 months, ANNABELLE found the transition to the island challenging at first but soon enough started making friends in school. When she originally wanted to join the football team her mother told her no so she turned to boxing. She boxes mainly for conditioning but hopes to compete in tournaments in the future. Training at the KBC and being around Sonny has helped show her the importance of taking care of herself, #1. The first day at the gym she felt intimidated and was ready to walk out the door but Sonny who has become a father figure welcomed her warmly and encouraged her to stay.
Anita and Jessica Westbrook
After having lived on Oahu for many years, two of Sonny’s three daughters are now back living in Kona and spending time with their Dad. Jessica is an orthopedic assistant and Anita is a general surgery assistant. In addition to their careers and lives on the island the girls help set up their Dad’s tournaments with him. Since as far back as they remember boxing has been an active part of their lives and even though they don’t box, they have great appreciation for the sport and stop by the KBC almost daily.
Cynthia in the Volcanos National Park
Director: Cynthia Younker
Having over 20 years of experience as a storyteller Cynthia is a soup to nuts producer with the skills to take on multiple responsibilities, from creative development, to budgeting, writing, field producing, directing and editing. During her 5 years as senior producer at Equator HD, Cynthia produced 2 international series and several documentaries. Prior to her tenure at Equator, she was a promo producer for News 12 Long Island. Her documentary career began with “Long Island Lighthouses." She bartered equipment and got the voice of Dick Cavett to narrate gratis. Cynthia has 5 NY Emmy Awards, earned her BA at Tisch School of the Arts and is a member of the Producers Guild.
Sam Kapoi, in Kailua-Kona Hawaii shooting A Boxing 'Ohana
Director of Photography:Sam Kapoi began his film career when he was recruited 15 years ago to The Hawaii Studies Program where he and a crew were assigned to document all activity for outside funding. Sam then enrolled in the Digital Filmmaking and Production Program at The Art Institute of California Los Angeles and upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree he returned home to Hawaii to run a small production company with fellow classmates. The company became the fastest growing company in 2010. Since 2011 he has been an independent freelance Director, DP and Editor working in film and Television. Sam also promotes the 90 Day Challenge helping people get on the healthy path in life. His is the nephew of A Boxing 'Ohana star, Sonny Westbrook
Marketing Team: Melissa Chalker has a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University and works for a non profit organization doing policy and advocacy work. In that role Melissa has developed marketing and social media skills. Melissa has also put those skills and her writing skills to work in her personal blog, House of Skip where she posts restaurant reviews, recipes and food commentary. Melissa has known Sasha Parulis for a number of years and finds Sasha's passion for this project (ABO) to be infectious, which is why she has signed on to assist with making this dream a reality.
Marketing Team: Christopher Naples is a graduate of Penn State University with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. He is currently employed with the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General located in Allentown, PA. Christopher is a great fan of the sport of boxing and what it has to offer to both fans and young troubled individuals. Christopher has been assisting with marketing and research on the documentary including attending pro-boxing fights as well as networking at the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in Canastota, NY.