If you are anywhere near Tarble gym on Monday or Saturday night and hear the sound of muffled music and rhythmic pounding from below, it is likely that you are hearing the practice of the newly founded Swarthmore Boxing Club practice.
Started by Robert Zigmund ’21 early this year, the Swarthmore Boxing Club has received interest from 78 students. A majority of these students, around 50 of them, signed up during the annual club fair, while the remaining have accumulated over the weeks as word of the club has spread.
Zigmund became interested in boxing during last year’s spring semester when a friend asked if he wanted to spar. Since then, he began to learn more about the sport of boxing and reached out to a few Swatties to see if anyone was interested in starting a club. Zigmund hopes that people give it a chance, and recognize its value as a form of exercise and as a community.
The co-ed club is for anyone who is interested, regardless of class year or experience. In fact, many of the students who attend are new to boxing. The reasons for joining are varied, but some are looking for exercise while others want to learn how to box.
Junior Sydney Klabnick is one of the newcomers to boxing who has taken up the sport this year.
“It was a unique opportunity to improve my fitness in an environment that is safe and welcoming, as well as non-judgmental,” said Klabnick. “The people are very helpful and have greatly enhanced my boxing knowhow.”
Klabnik notes how accommodating Zigmund is with working around student’s times and scheduling saying that he recently sent out a survey to all the members to see what day/time people could meet for a third practice day; they decided on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.
Ian McDiarmid-Sterling ’23 echoed similar reasons for joining, but emphasized the experience of learning how to box.
“I joined the boxing club to learn how to box — I had never tried before. It has been a good workout and lots of fun because the group is really passionate about learning and there is a good mix of people with different experiences,” said McDiarmid-Sterling.
Zigmund recognizes the multitude of reasons for joining and has separated the club into three categories based on preferences. The first category is for those who just want a good cardio workout. The second category is dedicated to those who are interested in sparring with other club members.The last category is for those who want to compete in the United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association. The plurality of students is interested in sparring, while there is equal interest among those who are there for the exercise and those interested in intercollegiate boxing. A majority of the students interested in joining the USIBA have had some boxing experience, and while it might take several weeks before Swarthmore has the means and numbers to officially compete in the USIBA, Zigmund hopes this part of the club can grow.
Moving forward the clubs next steps are to secure necessary funding from SBC which will allow them to accommodate everyone who is interested and their respective interests. For example, the club does not currently have proper headgear so people are unable to spar. Right now, with boxing gloves and mitts they are only able to work on combination work or punching patterns.
Practices are currently held in the wrestling room in Tarble gym twice a week and are roughly an hour and a half long with the time divided between cardio work, boxing technique and partner combination work. Students of all class years are welcome to come and as the club emphasizes that no experience is required.
Zigmund is excited about the new practices and new members, but recognizes that a sport like boxing occasionally requires individual attention and that he cannot be there for every member. To address this, the club decided to hire a boxing coach to help out newcomers and advanced boxing alike.
However, given initial interest, the future of the club is bright as it continues to balance member experience and interests. Zigmund hopes to keep this up and continue to build on the community the club has built in these first few weeks.