Jack Anderson, the social secretary of the University of Leeds Amateur Boxing Society, dismantles the misconceptions around boxing and shares the benefits of getting involved.
Boxing could change your life. Hear me out on this one.
There is a certain stigma surrounding boxing that reduces the inclusive sport to an idea of a group of huge, sweaty and aggressive men beating each other senseless. You may find this if you walk into a small number of boxing gyms across the globe, but this is not the case for most boxing clubs; it certainly is not the case at the University of Leeds Amateur Boxing Society.
Other misconceptions prevent beginners from getting involved in the sport, from the idea that you need to be fit to the fear of hurting someone or being hurt. However, the reality looks different.
Firstly, you do not have to be fit to start boxing; you start boxing to get fit! Every boxing gym you attend will have a range of boxers with varying skill sets, from complete beginners to highly talented and competitive athletes. No-one steps into a boxing gym with Muhammed Ali-like fitness, but this will come with time and hard work.
It’s important to remember that every single person at the gym will have attended their first session at some point, and we all remember how daunting it can seem. I initially felt the same, until I came to the realisation that there was indeed a community among both the boxers and the coaches. There was a clear sense that they were there to support and help each member, myself included. Everyone is welcomed on board in these communities, regardless of your fitness level, skillset or experience!
Furthermore, despite the intense atmosphere of boxing fixtures, no ‘fights’ will go down in any boxing gym. Sparring, on the other hand, will. This is a controlled, technical, and monitored ‘fight’ that is exclusive to boxers who are ready to participate; no one will force you to spar before you are ready.
Finally, the sport is not exclusive to men. Here at the University of Leeds, we have our own boxing society, filled with people of all genders, backgrounds and levels of experience. We have a great community that combines the discipline of boxing training with the sociability and fun of student life.
It is by no means easy. Boxing might just be the hardest exercise you will ever do, but I guarantee you will not regret it. Don’t wait, say yes, and start today.
You can find out more about the society via their Facebook group.