New club set to make a punch

What was once a sport lost in NCAA history might make an appearance at Lafayette this coming semester as a club sport.

Sophomores Adam Shankman and Austin Murtagh said boxing would be a great addition to Lafayette’s intramural sports organization with potential much beyond the basics of simply performing the art of boxing, like self-defense and fitness.

The club aims to attract both male and female participants and is set to be based in the Kirby gymnasium.

Known as the “sweet science,” boxing is a strategic and powerful activity that, according to Shankman and Murtagh, provides a physically taxing yet rewarding workout. They share a passion for the sport, as they both participated in high school at a competitive level.

“It’s missing on campus, and students have taken notice,” Shankman said. “My father was in the boxing club here at Lafayette in the 1970s and saw its benefit. I think it needs to make a comeback.”

Boxing has recently risen from the ashes nationwide. A staple of the 1920s, the sport was a revenue-based event that reflected the violence, passion and angst that emanated during the Prohibition Era. Its violence would soon be its downfall.

Boxing was once a sanctioned, or NCAA-regulated, sport preceding the 1960s. It was not until April 17 of that year that the sport took a massive blow, ending its prevalence on college campuses across the country.

University of Wisconsin athlete Charlie Mohr competed in his last match ever against San Jose State’s Stu Bartell. Afterward, he died of a brain hemorrhage. News of his injury and the growing study of concussions among athletes shut the sanctioned sport down for good.

Shankman and Murtagh plan on instilling absolute safety measures into whoever wishes to participate. “Sparring,” or hand-to-hand combat can be a dangerous boxing format, especially for amateurs, and will not be allowed. The two students aim to promote the importance of a good workout and the implementation of self-defense practices in a safe-manner.

“Boxing is such a unique sport and a skillset,” Murtagh said. “It has provided me some of the most difficult workouts of my life; that’s why I love it.”

Shankman added, “It teaches self-defense, which is imperative for both males and females, especially in today’s society.”

Fifty students are already interested in the club, according to Shankman and Murtagh. But creating a club is not a simple process, according to Murtagh and Shankman.

“There are countless meetings [with student government officers] and the Director of Recreation Services Jodie Frey,” Murtagh said. “The process is lengthy, but that is how clubs get approved.”

Frey said in an email that the constitution for a boxing club was submitted in the spring of 2015. She is expecting an update on its status soon.

Besides a constitution, club proposals include determining a budget, as well as the equipment needed and a scheduled location. Shankman and Murtagh put in the request for more heavy bags, type of punching bag, in the track area of Kirby.

“We could easily fit 20-25 people up there for a workout, using more bags and the mats already available,” Shankman said.

After the initial proposal this past spring and extensive planning this past summer, the aspiring boxing club is in a unique position.

With most of the logistics already addressed with the student government officials, Shankman and Murtagh are focusing solely on gaining participation interest this fall semester. Potential student involvement is key to pushing this club one step closer toward establishment, as well as making the sport of boxing, as a whole, notable once again.

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