FRIENDLY FIGHT – Red Deer & District Boxing Club member Billy Bray

Art of boxing at the forefront of local Club’s open house

  • May. 6, 2015 7:11 p.m.

The Red Deer Boxing Club hosted an open house over the weekend, in which they saw around 60 people gracing the rings of the downtown location.

With a long-standing history in the City, the Club hosted the open house as a means of opening their doors to the community.

Roman Rzepkowski, a coach with the Red Deer Boxing Club, explained the open house was a great way to let people know the Club is there for their use.

“Since our early days, Red Deer Boxing Club has always been a word of mouth kind of club,” he explained in an interview following the open house, which was held on the afternoon prior to the ‘MayPac’ match-up on Saturday between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. “With the hype that has returned to boxing it’s a great time to engage the people around us and help them fall in love with the sport.”

Over the 20-plus years of their operations, a number of elite level boxers have called the Club home, including eight-time Alberta champion Cameron O’Connell, as well as Arash Usmanee who eventually relocated to Montreal where he went on to win a number of national championships.

Rzepkowski added the Club’s number one focus is to ensure every attending member has fun – after that the coaches are there to meet the goals of each individual boxer depending where on the spectrum of recreational to competitive they fall.

“Boxing is strategic, it’s a mind game – you can win a boxing match before you even step in the ring due to the psychological nature of the sport,” he explained. “If you haven’t watched boxing before you are going to see hands hitting faces.

“Those trained in the sport will see footwork, breathing, stance – at the end of the day that’s what we are here for is to explain the art of boxing.”

He added the Club’s atmosphere is continuously one of mutual respect and community, as well as an avenue that allows them to change the perception of boxing. Rzepkowski explained at any given time you can walk into the Club and see a 40-year-old training alongside a 10-year-old kid.

“When people come down and see the interaction between athletes and the level at which we care for them to avoid injuries people’s perceptions of the sport itself change.”

A highlight from the open house for the coach was watching two young Club members ages seven and 10 spar in the ring. He explained the room went quiet as the two youngsters went head to head.

“Everyone is interested to see what happens when a seven-year-old takes a light knock to the face,” he said of the spar. “When he smiles and keeps going you know he’s in the right place.

“We’re not just in here to learn to fight, we are here to teach people to box – we want kids to feel confident about themselves and to be able to protect themselves.”

The Club saw mostly youngsters and young adults at their open house, which they said was promising for the future of the sport in Central Alberta with Rzepkowski adding that in his 15 years at the Red Deer Boxing Club he has witnessed a steady rate of membership with added interest in 2015.

He added with the return of boxing to primetime television thanks to American boxing adviser and manager Alan Haymon – who was responsible for the MayPac fight on Saturday evening in Las Vegas receiving the hype it did – people can expect to see major boxing match-ups every other weekend for the rest of the year from the comfort of their homes.

For more information on the Red Deer Boxing Club visit their facebook page by searching the club’s name.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

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