Fights may soon break out on campus, but with the unusual addition of a pair of gloves, a mouthpiece and headgear. After seeking approval from the administration for over a year, the leadership of the boxing club held their first meeting in Fowler Hall last Tuesday.
Most of the club’s members have minimal to no experience in boxing, but are joining the club to try something new.
“The experience is not necessarily important,” Boxing Club Co-Vice President Javier Silva (sophomore) said. “If you have a passion or interest for the sport, you can join. Experience is not necessary.”
Club president and founder Earl Park* (junior) started petitioning for an official boxing club at Occidental during the second semester of his freshman year, but the administration feared that students would suffer injuries, thus stalling the club’s creation. Associate Dean of Students Tim Chang said that the likelihood of physical harm—especially to the head—is what kept the college from originally accepting the boxing club.
“Head injuries and their long term effects; the idea of students causing potential harm to themselves and others was not something the college wanted to encourage,” Chang said.
Boxing Club Co-Vice President John Lee (senior) pointed out the irony in allowing other sports that can cause similar head trauma, such as football and rugby, to play on campus.
“The sport is not accepted like rugby and football,” Lee said. “People see boxing as fighting when it’s really a sport. Amateur boxing is all about points, you’re given lighter gloves and head gear, your goal should not be about injuring the opponent.”
The two sides eventually reached a compromise: the club could exist, but only with a ban on sparring. Lee explained that since the club is amateur, sparring is much safer than what is usually seen on television.
Club leadership maintains hope that one day the College will allow sparring, but until then they hope to start scheduled practices and expand the club.
“I have high hopes for the club,” Chang said via email. “I think it is great that the students are able to form clubs and groups which further their interests in a healthy and safe manner.”
The club’s leadership still has bigger plans for the future and hopes to continue to build on their progress. Silva hopes to eventually create an Occidental team to compete in National Amateur Boxing tournaments. Until then, the group is looking to expand its presence on campus.
*Earl Park is an Occidental Weekly staff writer.