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The Blue & Gray Press | November 20, 2017

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Boxing Rumble Coming to UMW

TRICIA CALLAHAN

“Don’t cheat yourself,” Coach Jay said. “Beat yourself,” added advisor Steve Williams. The University of Mary Washington’s Boxing Club is ready to show the university what they are made of.
Club president Mike Gionfriddo and co-president Matt Pares built the club from the ground up finding. Jay, a former Army boxer, and Williams, an instructor for KO Kids Boxing, to help them push themselves to a brand new level.
Fat Joe’s “Lean Back” played in the background while students stretched, wrapped their hands, and started jumping rope to warm up for practice.
Four girls were there to brave it against the group of guys. Some of them were there for the intense work out while others, like Ashley Post and Jackie Reed, were there for the fight that is quickly approaching.
“I do it for the great physical training” said Cory Yeago, who went on to say that the training there helps with every sport you can possibly participate in.
Soon enough the practice was in full swing with warm up exercises intended to kill. Full of high knees, intense cardio and an exercise called the pork chop, the boxers were sure to be sore afterward.
The punching bag and the speed bag were set in the right hand corner as people took turns beating them with reckless thrusts of aggression.
“I was thinking about my opponent” Abbas Haider said after an intense battle with the punching bag.
Those standing in line didn’t waste their time, practicing their punches and footwork, showing off shadowboxes of offensive and defensive combinations in the mirror.
“Don’t cross your feet up,” said advisor Williams. While doing this, boxers’ heads would scoop from one side to the next letting out tiny bits of air each time like the hiss of a balloon being deflated.
After the warm up everyone suits up into his or her headgear being sure to secure the Velcro below the chin and the mouth piece before emerging in the middle of the circle. The spars consisted of multiple unruly    blows to the head and stomach.
“[I] Felt like I was going to vomit, almost forgot to fight” said Pares after sparring with Gionfriddo.
Coach Jay would pound the floor each time there was a rotation and people switched partners accordingly.
Sweat was something that every member had in common as the two-hour practice came to a close. Those who didn’t have mouthguards had to beat themselves for it, lifting their arms to their head and pounding down on their stomachs. After this “punishment” the team linked arms and rose and fell continuously like a loaf of bread in the oven.
“The goal of the team is to fight other schools,” Gionfriddo remarked.
The team is excited about “Fight Night,” which is going to be held April 17. The tickets will be $3 in advance and $5 at the door.