Machi McGuire, a 2nd-year in mechanical engineering, punches the bag during boxing practice in the R
Several punching bags rock back and forth after every jab, hook and uppercut. A rumble from every strike echoes through the walls of the RPAC.
A looming presence in the midst of the madness, Luke Barrett makes his way around the room inspecting technique. As sweat pours down the faces of a group of boxers, muscles begin to tire, and Barrett erupts. Barrett pleads with the fighters to give him everything until the bell rings.
Barrett, a fourth-year in finance, is president of the Boxing Club at OSU. However, just six months ago, the gloves were unworn and the punching bags went untouched, unfamiliar with the beating to which they have since become accustomed.
Barrett made it his mission to revive the failing club; he fought to restore life back to a club that appeared to be knocked out.
“This winter I volunteered to pick it back up again,” Barrett said. “We started advertising in the winter, picked some guys up and started training in the spring.”
Beginning the first week of April, the Boxing Club had about 20 members and that number has nearly doubled since.
Caleb Jackson, a first-year in visual communication and vice president of the club, said he and Barrett set goals in training the new members.
“We focused on their footwork, keeping their hands up, everything a good fighter needs to have,” Jackson said. “We wanted to get that set before we get going any further.”
So far, the leaders of the club have seen improvement from its members.
“When they started, a lot of guys didn’t know anything at all,” Jackson said. “Compared to then, they’ve definitely grown a lot.”
As the club has continued to gain steam, word has gotten out around campus, and signs of growth are already evident after just a few weeks. The club meets twice a week to drill and work on fundamentals and another two times per week to spar.
Word of the Boxing Club’s existence has attracted women around campus who are interested in boxing, and the club offers two non-contact sessions a week for women to attend.
Barrett asked Alex Luke, a first-year in marketing and club member, to help instruct the women’s classes.
“(The women’s group) started out really small,” Luke said. “We’ve gotten the word out more by putting up some fliers around campus, and have already gotten over 20 emails from girls interested in joining.”
Competition was another factor behind Barrett’s motivation to get the club up and going again. Once Fall Semester comes, Barrett said he hopes to have a group of fighters ready to compete against other schools and gyms in the area.
“The goal for next year is to reach regionals in March, then to go to nationals at West Point in the beginning of April,” Barrett said.
The size of the Boxing Club and the dedication of the club’s members are what Jackson said will be the two main factors in the club’s future success.
“We want to have enough people so we can train and work off each other,” Jackson said. “We can have a really good club going, one of the best in the nation.”
In redeveloping the club, Barrett hopes to inspire growth in the interest and participation of boxing at OSU.
“This is a huge school with a ton of people who want to box,” Barrett said. “Let’s build it back up, it’s going back in that direction now.”
The club faces some handicaps in its desire to expand, including the lack of boxing equipment and facilities available for use on campus.
“I expected more when I got here, but we only have four bags (at the RPAC),” Luke said.
Barrett said he hopes the rising interest and increase of participation in the Boxing Club will lead to growth and development in the equipment and facilities the club has access to.
“We want to start hosting fights here at OSU, get a boxing room with more equipment and start to expand,” Barrett said. “Now that we got a core group of guys this spring, we can begin to grow exponentially.”