Loyola’s new boxing club is rapidly becoming the largest sports club on campus.
The club was founded three years ago by then first-year Ryan Motzel, who is still the president and main administrator for the organization. He developed his passion for boxing in high school and wanted to make it available to more students.
The club started its first year with 15 members and has expanded every semester since. Now, the club is one of the biggest clubs on campus with about 60 members. Motzel, who is studying economics, said the club’s rapid expansion is a “breakthrough” for Loyola due to the controversy that accompanies a fighting sport. The club offers a variety of competitive levels, according to Motzel.
The club has a welcoming atmosphere for new members, said Motzel, and newcomers shouldn’t be intimidated by the aspect of competitive fighting.
“We have options for members to be competitive and non-competitive,” said Motzel. “As a non-competitive member you really don’t need to show up at all some weeks if you can’t make it. But you can [show up] up to five times [a week] as well.”
Motzel said the club’s popularity can be attributed to the way it accommodates all its members’ different skill levels. With 60 members to work with, the training schedule often comes down to what each student wants to do every week.
Motzel said he believes the opportunity to be a part of club boxing is one that shouldn’t be passed up. Any student can join and have the chance to stay healthy and train to compete in tournaments, according to Motzel.
While club boxing can be used as a way to make friends or get in shape, it also has competitive members. About 15 current members show interest in competing, according to Motzel.
Loyola’s club boxing competes in the United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association (USIBA). There are 61 teams from several universities around the country competing in the USIBA. Loyola’s club boxing team faces some of the best student boxers in the country.
“It’s competitive and it’s only getting bigger because boxing is on such an upswing among campuses in the United States right now,” Motzel said. “That’s a fact. I’m not just saying that.”
There are two boxing associations that partner with USA Boxing: the USIBA and the National College Boxing Association. It is possible in the near future that the NCAA will sanction collegiate boxing once again.
Club boxing has its more intense members go through a grueling training regime that includes rhythmic jumping rope, skill work training, heavy conditioning and sparring.
There are other members who participate for fun. Jack Doroff, an international studies major, started boxing this year. He said he hopes to become certified to compete in club boxing and he looks forward to being a part of the club for the next four years.
“I really wanted to get involved with boxing on campus,” said Doroff. “I think it could be really beneficial to me going into a military career.”
Doroff is a member of the Army ROTC program and uses club boxing to stay in shape.
“Boxing training is a hard workout,” he said. “It’s a fantastic workout.”
Doroff said there is more to club boxing than helping him stay in shape; it helps him stay organized and improves his mental toughness.
“You’re in the ring. You can’t really get out unless you quit,” he said. “It’s one-on-one and I’ve only played team sports my whole life. With boxing, it’s the ultimate humbling. You can’t blame the ref, [and] you can’t blame anyone else. It’s always you.”
Club boxing currently has nine members training for The Main Event boxing tournament hosted by the University of Kentucky on Nov. 21.