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The Blue & Gray Press | April 24, 2018

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Boxing Club Still Throwing Punches

By JONATHAN WIGGINTON

Courtesy of flickr.com/photos/benyupp

Courtesy of flickr.com/photos/benyupp

The members of the Boxing Club go about training and boxing discreetly in the dance studio for two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night. They are there to learn how to box, have fun and enjoy the benefits from a grueling physical routine.

If you’re looking for the “best workout” according to Co-President Matt Pares, join the Boxing Club.

“It’s the best anaerobic/aerobic combination workout I’ve ever participated in,” Pares said.

A club that many on campus know little about, the Boxing Club was formed in 2005 by Krishna Sinha, class of 2008. At its creation, the boxing club saw a high level of interest immediately, with about 40 members right off the bat. However, that number drastically shrunk down to a core group of about six consistent participants, who came to workouts and practices regularly.

Senior Mike Gionfriddo, one of the early consistent participators and current Co-President, joined the group as a freshman in 2006. Having never boxed before, Gionfriddo, an avid athlete in many other sports, said that boxing is “the most challenging sport I’ve ever participated in.”

Both Gionfriddo and Pares had never boxed before they came to UMW; now, they are the co-presidents of the club and help train and teach the twenty-odd members how to box. They also were central figures in arranging “UMW Fight Night 2009,” last April 17.

The event was held in the Goolrick main gym, and featured six fights, two of which were fights between women. The stands in Goolrick were filled with eager and interested spectators who wanted to enjoy something unique to the Mary Washington campus.

Students who attended felt as though they were at an actual boxing match, not just a make-shift event thrown together in a school gym.

“I was impressed with the setup, in terms of the ring and the atmosphere when you walked in the doors,” senior Phil Smith said.

Pares said the event raised over $700, most of which paid for the price of the boxing ring. Pares also said a small donation was given to Invisible Children, a group active on the UMW campus which raises awareness about war-affected children in East Africa.

The first fight night was in 2007, headlined by the participation of Shin Fujiyama, founder of Students Helping Honduras, a group founded at UMW to help children in need in Honduras.

“A lot of people were surprised at how well it went,” Gionfriddo said about the 2007 event. He went on to commend the turnout and positive response of many students on campus.

The club does put up flyers to spread interest, but most of the current members learned about it from fellow students.

“It’s basically word of mouth,” Pares said in regards to how news and awareness about the club travels throughout campus. The biannual club carnival is another way Pares and Gionfriddo hope to raise UMW’s interest, setting up an information booth at each event.

If you want to learn how to box, or just want to take part in a great workout, head over to Goolrick. “Everyone is welcome,” Gionfriddo said.

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