Bucket List Item: Fight in Chicago Golden Gloves

Dana Muligano, a Gurnee firefighter who trains in Crystal Lake, is throwing his hat into the ring.

Sixteen years ago he got his ear bent wrestling in high school.

Dana Muligano is now in jeopardy of getting his nose flattened next month in the Chicago Golden Gloves.

Muligano is a 33-year-old Gurnee firefighter who is philosophical about his passion for boxing.

“I’m into a Zen thing right now,” Muligano said. "I’m into the journey, learning where I am and how far I have to go.”

Shereen Hammad — a 26-year-old zoology and pre-veterinarian major at Southern Illinois University — is Muligano’s girlfriend and fully supports his plans to become an amateur boxer.

When Hammad is home from college, she goes to the gym with Muligano to watch his workouts. 

“I’m really excited for Dana,” she said. “I’ve never met a person who challenges himself so much.”

On occasion you can find Hammad sitting on the wooden stairs leading up to the treadmill balcony at , reading a big textbook with an arcane title. 

She took karate lessons in her younger days and isn’t squeamish about watching her boyfriend exchange punches with sparring partners. It was her idea to record Muligano’s workouts with her iPhone. He reviews the footage afterward to check his form.

His trainer, Gary Dobry, is constantly after Muligano to set his feet before throwing punches. It's a flaw in Muligano's fighting style that he's working hard to correct.

Muligano played soccer and wrestled at McHenry High School - East Campus. He graduated in 1996.

Shortly following graduation, he had a falling out with his parents and spent a couple months living in his car. He got a job at IBM through a temp agency.

He bought a house in Island Lake when he was 20 years old.

“I was saddled with a mortgage,” he said. “I didn’t have time to do things … like boxing.” 

He became a firefighter when he was 23. 

“Firefighting was a means to an end,” he said. “I started my own landscaping company. You can do that with the hours a firefighter works. I wanted to be my own boss, run my own company. Then I had an epiphany when I was cutting lawns in Holiday Hills.” 

He fired his whole landscaping crew for one reason or another and was doing all the mowing himself.

And he figured out that he loved the action and adventure of firefighting. The  work schedule — one day on, two days off — gave him time to start living a life of adventure.

He's been taking boxing lessons at The School of Hard Knocks for the past year. Fighting in the Chicago Golden Gloves is the next thing on Muligano's to-do list.

“I’m really a competitive guy,” Muligano said.  “I’m in it to win.”


Boxer registration will be held at Gordon Tech, 3633 N. California Ave., Chicago.

  • February 18 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • February 19 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • February 20 from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Bouts start in March


  • March 8, 9 and 10
  • March 15, 16, and 17


  • March 22, 23 and 24

Championship Bouts: 

  • April 12, 13 and 14

Tickets are $10 general admission for the preliminaries; $15 general admission fro the semifinals; and $20 general admission for championship bouts.


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