1. How did you get involved in boxing?
There was a Toughman contest when I was growing up and they were giving away $50. I thought I was pretty tough. It was an amateur fight. So I went and fought. Thatís where I got hooked.
2. What is your background in boxing?
I boxed all through high school.
3. How did the Putnam County Boxing Club get started?
In 2005, I got the idea I wanted to get my oldest son who was 4 or 5 years old involved in a boxing program early on. There never has been an organized boxing program in the Putnam County area. First I talked to Jack Fought, but he said he didnít have time to do it. He introduced me to Tom Giesken. In April 2005 we formed the Putnam County Boxing Association. We never did much with it because between our two work schedules it was hard to get it done. In 2008, a girl from Findlay area called and said she wanted to learn how to box. By then I was working first shift. So she was our first boxer. Then Trent Kuhlman came along in January 2009. By March 13 we had our first team fight.
4. What other clubs are you affiliated with?
Defiance Area Athletic Club, Lima Spartans, the Lima Kronc Boxing Club, and Premier Club of Lima who have been around forever. For a long time we didnít have our own gym. We trained kids in our basement. The other boxing clubs let us use their gym some and travel to matches with them.
5. What ages can join the boxing club?
The U.S.A. Boxing School rules are ages 8 to 34.
6. How are the students trained?
First I teach them defense. I try to teach them step-by-step. Every kid moves a little different. So I start with defense, then on footwork, then on offense.
7. How do you keep them safe from injuries?
We have headgear, protective gear, and I only let my kids spar with 16-ounce gloves. They also use protective padding and mouth protectors. Of course boxing is like any sport. You can get hurt, but there are actually more injuries in any other sport than boxing.
8. What skills do the students learn while boxing?
They gain a lot of confidence. We also have rules of conduct. They learn about hard work. Boxing is not like other sports where you train for a few weeks and then go play. I may spend three or four months with a kid just getting them ready for the first fight.
9. Where have they competed?
They have been all over Ohio. There are a lot of shows in Toledo and a Silver Glove Tournament in Defiance. Competitions are coming up where some of my kids will compete in Toledo and Zanesville. On May 21 weíre going to host a show at the Putnam County YMCA.
10. Why would you encourage other students to learn boxing?
Itís not for everybody, but if your kid has desire to learn a sport where you are not reliant on someone else, this may be a good sport to learn. But this isnít what you see on HBO or Cinemax.
11. What do you see in the future for the Putnam County Boxing Club?
Right now we have a waiting list for new members and weíre working on getting our 501(c) status. If anyone wants to see what it is like, they are welcome to come out on Tuesday nights and check us out as we practice from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at our gym on Walnut Street, Ottawa.