The AMS Boxing Club was formed in 2013 by people who enjoyed the cathartic exhilaration of punching and getting punched. The founders and their successors, fueled with their shared passion of boxing, never stopped pushing the club forward into the spotlight among other notable clubs in UBC community.
Advocating for a healthy and active lifestyle — and equipped with punching bags — the club had seen such significant growth in 2015, to a point that it began to restrict its membership.
“[It was an] unfortunate milestone that would involve cutting off our membership registration and creating a waitlist due to the unaccommodating room capacities of our bookings,” said AMS Boxing Club President Jordan Huang.
Another issue that has been bothering the club and martial arts clubs in general is that it could be difficult to get a go-ahead from UBC on hosting an event, simply because there is going to be fighting. However, that obstacle is not insurmountable.
“Normally we just present it as a fundraiser to get around those issues,” said Cam Jennings, the vice-president external of the club.
Jennings still seemed surprised that UBC gave permission on hosting their event called SUBmission at the AMS Student Nest earlier in September, given the usual difficulty of getting these kind of events proved.
“I was always surprised that we got the go-ahead from UBC [because] we always have trouble doing our annual sparring,” said Jennings.
The road to becoming a recognizable club was not without its challenges. With the rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), regular boxing has taken a huge hit in popularity. There is concern that the effects of that phenomenon rippled all the way to the Boxing Club here at UBC.
“We do get a lot of people coming into our class, even going into the first session of trying out in Boxing Club, [asking] when are we gonna start kicking and something along those lines,” said Jennings.
According to Huang, one of the most valuable assets the Boxing Club possesses is its new young core of executives who dedicate their time and energy to the growth of the club.
“Sacrifices were made when my execs and I had to skip classes to ensure our presence, and other times, execs must step out of their job description to lighten the load of others,” said Jordan.
In addition to inserting a more vibrant new core, Boxing Club is well on its way of getting more involved with the university community in other aspects as well. In the wake of sexual assaults and growing concern about female students’ safety, the club is advocating for a women-only session, and trying to get more amateur and professional female boxing instructors involved.
“We have had interest in doing a women-only class. I personally am advocating for that to happen,” said Jennings.
“I think there has always been a misconceived notion that boxing is a masculine only sport and people going into the boxing environment are trying to be overly masculine. But once you enter the ring, it doesn’t matter where you are from or what your sex is.”
This sends out the message that we should eliminate the existing men-only boxing stereotype. It could open the door for more people to have a taste in the sport and just have fun.
With more members signing up, the club is gaining more revenue to purchase better equipment and more lessons from professional boxers. After raising the membership fees by $10, the club can now afford its instructor to come on a weekly basis.
Still going strong, the growth and success of the AMS Boxing Club has not made it complacent.
They're not phased by the challenges either.