Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The UMass Boxing Club emphasizes the importance of community through a team

The club details its season as well as what being a member means to them
Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian (2015)

The University of Massachusetts Boxing Club emphasizes the importance of community within its club. Through social outreach, the group encourages new members to join not only for the sport, but the value of team spirit.

Detailing the experience of a beginner in the boxing club, senior English major and club President Clint Sengmany advised that “learning proper techniques is always the best thing” when starting out as a novice boxer, and to “believe in the process.”

Sengmany also talked about his personal goals that he hopes to reach during a typical practice. “I’m training myself to proper technique,” he said. By focusing on the positioning of his head, feet and knees, Sengmany ensures he has the proper stance and guard. He highlighted that some may believe weightlifting is the proper training for boxing, and while this is helpful, cardio is much more beneficial for finding success as a boxer.

As the group’s current president, Sengmany explained how he pays attention to the other coaches’ technique as well. “When I help my coaches teach, I go around to ensure that they have the same technique as me,” he said. He added that he checks if “their knees are bent, arms are up, they’re protecting themselves and their heads.”

Freshman kinesiology major and Vice President Jamison Lodge explained what a typical match would look like. With three two-minute rounds, and 30 seconds in between each round, boxers of the same weight class are paired against one another, using proper headgear and gloves.

Lodge said that the club’s Saturday practices are “level one” and focus on “generalized group fitness.” He added, “It’s gonna be a lot more cardio endurance and core work.” The club’s Sunday practices, which are invite only, center around “hardcore sparring” followed by “intense cardio,” Lodge said.

Lodge started boxing after he met boxing club alumni at his local boxing gym, where they urged him to join the group. “Don’t be afraid at all,” Lodge said about any potential new members who are interested in boxing. “It definitely seems intimidating at first because they’re going to see people have more skill than them.”

“Everyone was a beginner once,” Lodge said, emphasizing that the Boxing Club welcomes athletes of any skillset.

Freshman accounting major and rising President Vito DiPietro talked about the importance of physical fitness for boxers when competing in the ring. As DiPietro himself has done martial arts for 11 years, he said, “You shouldn’t be in the ring competing if you were not physically fit enough and dedicated enough to do it,” citing that it is unsafe.

DiPietro discussed the different types of hits, which include the jab, cross hook and uppercut. There are also two styles of fighting: in-fighting and out-fighting. He explained that shorter boxers typically in-fight and box closer to one another, while out-fighters box at a greater distance.

As each of the officers described their interest and passion for boxing, they also detailed that their favorite part of the club was not boxing itself, but the sense of community that comes along with it.

Junior civil environmental engineering major and social media coordinator Karalynn Aguilar described that she had no martial arts experience before joining the club. “As long as you show up and put in the effort, we have wonderful coaches who are very willing to help you as well as a group of officers and other experienced club members who want you to succeed with your goals,” she said.

Sengmany said that he strives to have a “family-oriented” club, adding that he loved seeing new faces and seeing boxers go through “fundamental changes within themselves.” He said that some boxers come back with improved fitness or confidence — changes that he enjoys seeing among his teammates. He loved “seeing people become friends” as well. Sengmany said that the Boxing Club is “family far from home.”

Aguilar, who runs the club’s Instagram and TikTok pages, also referred to the club as a “second family,” and added, “I’ve made a lot of friendships in this club with people I may never have met otherwise.” Aguilar also emphasized that she appreciates the motivation and support that club members have for one another.

Similarly, Lodge said that the club “brings people together.” The “like-minded” teammates “who enjoy the same things” as himself help bring a sense of community to the group.

As the rising president, DiPietro is focusing on aspects that reach the community outside of boxing. While working on club organization, he is also hoping that boxers and officers engage more in campus events and community service.

In appealing to students who may have interest in boxing, DiPietro said, “Just show up.  Everybody is very eager to work with new people.” He commented that there are options for beginners and said, “There is a non-sparring option. You don’t have to get in the ring with Muhammad Ali on your first day.”

“We’re very interested in giving our time to others,” DiPietro said. Like his fellow officers, the community is DiPietro’s favorite part of the boxing club. He encourages people in the gym to approach him or other officers as he keeps a spare pair of gloves with him. “We are more than happy to help people,” he said.

Abby Joyce can be reached at [email protected].

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  • J

    J PMar 31, 2023 at 9:33 am

    Well-written article.