Boxing Club overcame a number of barriers to get its feet on the ground.
One of the biggest challenges the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Boxing Club faces is the distance barrier between campus and the Gust Gym in Marshfield, where the club practices.
“We can’t practice on campus. We brought home champions when we were allowed to practice here and compete in a successful way,” said President Diamond Campbell.
A fatal incident on a Madison campus caused all boxing clubs to shut down on campuses across the state. Since then, these rules have been revoked but the club still does not practice on campus.
“I assumed we could use the rooms in the HEC,” Campbell said. “I looked through all the rule books, but it turned out we couldn’t. We were sanctioned and forced to practice off campus.”
Campbell started the club during the beginning of her sophomore year, unaware of this issue. She was merely interested in sharing her love for the sport after recovering from a heart problem.
“I had just gotten approved to do physical activities again,” Campbell said. “I wanted to get back into boxing, but there was nothing in Point boxing related.”
Campbell boxed in high school and wanted to become physically active again.
“She didn’t have to start the club,” said coach Don Jisko. “She could have just come to the gym and done the same thing.”
The club started with 28 members and has grown to nearly 150.
With a group so large, it is a task to get members to Marshfield to practice. The Student Government Association provides a budget to fund vehicles, but the vehicles fill quickly.
“We only have two vehicles per practice and they are usually filled by Monday,” Campbell said.
The club practices Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is open to any experience level.
“We try and reach the potential of the person who wants to do it and get them where they want to go,” Jisko said.
The club is largely female dominated without a single male on the executive board. However, Jisko is willing to work with anyone.
“I don’t believe a woman was put on this earth to get hit, so we train them hard in defense,” Jisko said.
Senior Brett Thompson encourages people to test the boxing waters.
“It’s more about the dedication and the focus. You don’t have to spar or hit the heavy bag,” Thompson said.
Thompson acknowledged the stigma around boxing, which is another challenge any boxing club faces.
“It’s not like the UFC fighting you see on TV,” Thompson said. “There’s more to it than that.”
Thompson said while there can be boxing injuries, the same risk is found in other sports like football, wrestling and rugby.
Boxing is more than just throwing and blocking punches.
“Boxing is probably one of the hardest physical sports out there,” Thompson said. “You get your running out of the way in the morning and then you work on the actual boxing at night.”
There is no offseason when it comes to boxing. According to Campbell and Thompson, people train harder for bigger fights but not everyone competes.
“You can train to see if you really want to do the sport or for physical fitness,” Jisko said. “Some people want to compete, some don’t.”
Boxing interest levels seem to be high in Point and the UWSP Boxing Club welcomes anyone who wants to join.
“If you’re interested in boxing, we’re interested in teaching you,” Campbell said.