GVSU boxing club entering first year of competition

The club is planning to schedule its first fights in late February

By Brady McAtamney | 1/18/17 10:05pm


GVL / Courtesy - Austin Belanger-Iott

Grand Valley State students with an interest in martial arts are in luck.

The coed GVSU boxing club is in its first competitive year in club history, and is making a push for new members.

“Our boxing club is for whoever wants to compete and whoever wants to work out, for fitness or endurance,” said club president Fahad Binkhalid. “Boxing is one of the best workouts for all sports. If you want to lose weight you can do that, if you want to be fit you can do that, if you want to train for a fight you can do that too.”

The club, which meets twice a week for vigorous workouts and technical training in the sport of boxing, promotes their product to all students—any gender, age, and level of boxing experience—at GVSU as a good time and a way to become more comfortable with themselves, from both an image and a defensive standpoint.

“Learning any form of martial arts can be a useful skill in the sense that it works on your physical body and teaches you about patience and diligence and hard work,” said member and club external affairs officer Austin Belanger-Iott. “These things take practice and it almost creates a sense of safety and you feel comfortable, it creates a sense of courage and bravery that might not have been there before.”

With 2017 being the first year in which the club has gone competitive, they have been preparing hard for their initial taste of opponents gloves.

Belanger-Iott schedules the fights for his teammates and himself, and both he and Binkhalid are confident in the Lakers' ability to go into the ring and experience success sooner rather than later.

“We have three good fighters, including me," Binkhalid said. "Hell yeah (we) can do something."

During the club’s practices, they typically begin with traditional exercises, like cardio and weights. After a while, they’ll transition into working on technique. This is extremely important to them, especially when it comes to newer fighters, as using proper technique will prevent serious injury to both the fighters and their opponents.

At the end of each session, they put aside a chunk of time to “spar” within the group, which is a designated time slot for the Lakers to go into the ring against one another to put what they have learned to the test in a friendly duel.

Of course, now that the club is competitive, workout regimes have grown more demanding in order to get their fighters into premier shape.

“It’s very intense. Upping the amount that we worked out, paying attention to what we eat, but it’s also really fun,” Belanger-Iott said. “We spar within the club but being able to actually go out there and use what we learned in a competitive setting is fun but it’s a little bit scary because you know you’re going to get hit so you go to put everything you learned to work in real life. It’s just an exciting experience.”

The Lakers expect to begin the competitive season in late February and are accepting new members year-round.

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