Sometimes you just want to punch somebody in the face. Dozens of students get that chance every week at the UM boxing club.
In 1960, the NCAA dropped boxing as a sport, and it subsequently disappeared from campus. But in the last two years, UM boxing has returned as an official club sport with a considerable following.
Longtime boxers and newcomers in search of an alternative workout visit the Wellness Center twice a week to join the club.
“Since the reinstatement of the boxing club, students have responded positively,” Club President Teresa Browning said. “After CaneFest, we had more than 100 students come out to see what it was all about. Through the semester, the number has declined … but members who come out now and try it out usually keep coming back time after time.”
The club, which now has around 45 paying members, focuses on fundamentals and technique, creating a demanding workout.
Typical sessions also include individual exercises that target all parts of the body, such as push-ups, lunges and core training.
Later, they dive into boxing exercises like punching, bobbing, weaving and slipping techniques.
Mickey Demos Jr., a former champion who now trains at the Biscayne Boxing and Fitness Club, leads the way at each practice.
Students usually team up with partners, using gloves and mitts to work on punch combinations.
Practices are held from 9:15 to 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in Multipurpose Room B at the Wellness Center.
Junior Mark Agate joined the club a few weeks ago because he liked the convenience of learning to box right on campus.
“I got tired of my usual weight-lifting routine and wanted to try something new,” he said. “[Boxing] is a great cardio workout, which is what I tend to lack. It’s also very enjoyable to learn something new that doesn’t revolve around a textbook and academics.”
Other members bring considerable experience to the club. Freshman Mladen Milovic has been boxing since his sophomore year in high school. He said the sport delivers “endless” benefits.
“Mentally, boxing instills a sense of self-confidence and determination,” Milovic said. “The physical benefits of boxing are incredible … Constant arm fatigue helps build muscle memory and definition. Your abs become much stronger, and in turn your core as a whole becomes strong. It is essentially the perfect whole body workout.”
For students with the desire and skills to go to the next level, there is also a UM boxing team. To make the cut, a student typically attends club practices first, where a coach may recognize his or her competitive potential.
The boxers then work with Demos Jr. or another coach to improve their sparring and prepare them for matches.
Demos Jr. won seven state titles as an amateur boxer in Florida, as well as four Junior Olympic gold medals. He began teaching the sport at the age of 15.
Miami’s boxing club and team have memberships in two leagues, the Florida Collegiate Boxing Conference and the United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association. Through the FCBC, the club competes against schools around the state including FSU, UF and FIU.
Member dues are $25 each semester, which includes free training at Biscayne Boxing and Fitness Club.
Team sessions are at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8:30 p.m. on Fridays.
“I would recommend the UM boxing club to other students because it’s really the best of both worlds,” Milovic said. “You get to make great friends who share a passion for this sport with you, and you get in the best shape of your life.”