UPDATE: 50 students ready to fight at UW's first boxing club practice

By: Madeline Anderson Email
By: Madeline Anderson Email

UPDATED: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 --- 10:40 p.m.

Around 50 students came ready to get in the ring Wednesday at the UW-Madison boxing club's first practice--a testament to just how much some have wanted and waited to compete.

"It's an individual sport that challenges you. It's between you and your opponent," said UW junior Faris Alsree.

"It's a confidence builder in and of itself because you know that you're stronger than just mental. The female kind of courage. You have this back up," said UW sophomore Kristen Romes.

"There's a beauty to the sport. It's one-on-one and it's the most simple, direct form of sport there is," said UW senior Edward O'Meara Stillwell.

Like any sport, athletes box for the physical challenge, the mental confidence or the chance to win.

"I'm looking to compete soon," O'Meara Stillwell said. He discovered boxing when he was studying aboard.

"I was down in Capetown and I was looking for things to do and they had a boxing bag in the local gym," he said. "And I'd just go and whale on it. And it was a great way to get out aggression and it was fun."

When he returned to the states, O'Meara Stillwell wanted to perfect his technique. At the University's first boxing club practice, he and other students learned the basics from wrapping their hands to how to move their feet.

"All the power in boxing comes from your legs and your hips," O'Meara Stillwell said.

While this group is excited about the club's future, many are also cognizant of boxing's controversial past. Beginning in the 1930s, the UW was a powerhouse for three decades. Then in 1960, Badgers' superstar Charlie Mohr entered the ring at the NCAA championships. Mohr died 8 days later from a detached blood vessel that was caused by a blow to the head during the match. The round he lost his life was also the last round for the entire sport of boxing at Wisconsin and at the intercollegiate level around the country.

Nearly 54 years later, boxing enthusiasts say improvements have been made to keep people safer.

"Right now you have to have a certain type of mouth guard, you have to have USA Boxing certified headgear and the gloves are actually bigger than before, so it kind of adds a little bit more cushion in there," Alsree said.

"And we know what we're doing," O'Meara Stillwell said. "We're not going to let people fight who aren't ready to fight."

Although the NCAA still does not sanction boxing, the UW's boxing club plans to register with USA boxing, which holds national competitions.

Posted Monday, February 3, 2014 --- 2:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The University of Wisconsin-Madison will allow club boxing 54 years after a student died from injuries suffered during a championship match.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday that UW sophomore Chandler Davis petitioned the school to bring back the sport after it was banned following boxer Charlie Mohr's death on April 17, 1960.

The NCAA also banned boxing as an intercollegiate sport following Mohr's death eight days after a punch to the head. UW's boxing team had won eight championships over the previous 21 years before Mohr's death.

Chandler collected 200 signatures and gave presentations in his campaign to have boxing return as a club sport. The boxing club was approved Dec. 4 and will have its first practice Wednesday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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