April 17th, 2021

Lethbridge Boxing Club getting back into shape

By Dale Woodard on March 27, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDsports@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Boxing Club has come out swinging at the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club located just off Mayor Magrath Drive is now technically open, but a normal hands-on training routine that comes with the sport is now a hands-off endeavour in keeping with pandemic protocol for owner and coach Rick Duff.

After being shut down late last year due to the ongoing virus, the Lethbridge Boxing Club has started a GoFundMe page to help pay the bills for missed rent and utilities from December to February.

As of Friday, a little over $4,000 of their $8,950 goal had been raised.

“A couple of weeks ago we started a GoFundMe to help the gym because we’re falling behind and due to inactivity at the gym, that’s the only way we get our funds to take care of our rentals,” said Duff, a Canadian Olympian from 1984, where he completed as a middleweight at the Summer Games in Los Angeles. “We have our place and activities (and) we don’t have too many guests able to use our spot to help us.”

In keeping with pandemic protocol, the Lethbridge Boxing Club has modified their schedule as they head into spring and summer.

“Not all (classes) are open yet, but we’re slowly going to start opening them up as the interest starts picking up. Anyone under the age of 19 can come in and train in a group of nine or less with a coach,” said Duff, adding those class times run Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.”

People over the age of 19 must have one-on-one training with a coach, said Duff.

“They have to sign up on the website, then I know if I have to bring in more coaches or if it’s just me here for one person. I have three coaches to choose from, so we can have three people come in and train who are over 19.”

The individual training sessions go all week after 4 p.m. with the Lethbridge Boxing Club also open Saturday and Sunday.

Little Slugger — for kids aged four to seven — goes from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, while the low impact program runs 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, said Duff.

A self defense class taught by Kevin Sonnenberg, a weapon defense instructor with over 35 years of martial arts and self-defense training, is also being offered.

Those interested can contact Sonnenberg for an appointment through the Lethbridge Boxing Club’s website.

Girl Power, for female beginners aged four-and-up who want to learn the sport of boxing, build confidence and learn how to defend themselves, will begin the first week of April, said Duff.

The coaching techniques have also been altered in keeping with COVID protocol.

“It’s me telling somebody to get on the bag and watching them for a bit,” said Duff. “Then I come into their zone for a bit and tell them the adjustments they have to make. You have to be careful and be masked up.

“I used to be a hands-on coach, now I have to be a talking one,” added Duff with a chuckle. “It’s not easy, but I’m getting better at it.”

As soon as the athletes enter the gym they do a COVID sign-in, said Duff.

“They wash their hands and then they go to their stations. The kids group of nine-or-less, I get some of them to start on skipping, some start with shadow boxing and some start on the bags. I spread them out and they do a circuit. The low impact and core training, I stand back and tell them what to do.”

For more information on the Lethbridge Boxing Club’s classes and their GoFundMe page, visit http://www.lethbridgeboxingclub.com.

The club can also be reached via email at lethbridgeboxingclub@gmail.com

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