Boxing club back into the swing of things
The St. Catharines Boxing Club’s doors are open again, but it’s definitely not business as usual.
Before boxers enter the Niagara Street gym, they must answer a series of questions about: new or worsening symptoms; recent travel or close contact with anyone who has recently travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days; and, contact with people suffering from certain symptoms or confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19.
Once the questions have been answered, boxers and coaches have their hands sprayed with sanitizer and then they are allowed to come into the gym. Names and contact information are also recorded at that time and those entering are offered a mask to wear.
At the present time, the club is allowed to have 10 in the facility at any one time and that includes coaches and parents.
“If a parent is going to stay with an underaged child, then that means one less boxer,” coach Bruce Greenlaw said.
Boxing Ontario is presently recommending one-hour workouts (45-minute workout followed by a 15-minute cleanup) and that suggestion allows the club to have times for all its boxers who want to train.
Social distancing is maintained during the workouts and once the boxers are finished, the equipment is thoroughly cleaned.
Each square the boxer occupied is wiped down as are the punching bags, seating areas and other items used by the boxers. The bathrooms are cleaned twice every training session.
“We have designated hot spots to clean; front door, bathroom, seating areas and obviously the squares,” Greenlaw said.
The club is adhering to all the regulations of Boxing Ontario.
“They have set out a strict book of regulations we are going by,” he said. “Right now, there is no contact, no hand pads, no sparring and no technical sparring.
“It is the first week or two back and the kids haven’t been training and this is not a bad time for them to stay sharp that way.”
Training sessions include skipping, shadow boxing, bag work and a cool-down period.
All of the club’s boxers have returned to training.
“Everybody is excited to be back as Joe’s (coach Corrigan’s) phone can attest,” Greenlaw said. “It has been blowing up and we have had great success with ladies boxercise so far.”
The club is taking baby steps.
“It is the summer time and we are just trying to get this up and going,” Corrigan said. “We want to open the doors, get people in here and let them know it is safe.”
Last week the club opened for two days and this week it was three. Next week, the club will be open for four days.
“We want to give everybody at least two sessions and have the two boxercise classes,” Corrigan said.
He has missed being at the club as much or more than the boxers.
“I come here during snowstorms and shovel off the sidewalk,” he said.
The club relies on its boxing cards to help fund many of its activities and, so far, the pandemic had cancelled one card. The club is not asking for any financial help.
“People have enough friggin’ problems already without being asked to donate to a boxing club,” Corrigan said, with a laugh.
The club’s Viva Las Vegas Show held March 6 happened one week before everything was shut down. It is hoped the club’s Niagara Legends of Boxing Show will be held when things return to some degree of normal.
Training at the club Thursday was Steven Dwyer, a 25-year-old who won a Canadian junior silver medal in his teen years. He returned to boxing a year and a half ago before the pandemic derailed his return.
“It was pretty tough and it was different, that’s for sure,” Dwyer said. “I tried to keep my training up when there wasn’t bad weather outside.”
He was glad to be back at the club.
“It’s great but I am a little sore from punching the bag and stuff, but it is definitely a lot better than being away.”
Dwyer was OK with all the precautions required to train.
“It’s a bit much but you gotta do what you have to do,” he said. “You get used to it.”