By JAY REY
Published March 15, 2023
Editor’s note: It’s not always easy for students to find their place at a large, research university like UB. Thankfully, there are hundreds of clubs on campus — nearly 500, in fact — where students can take a break from their studies, make friends, pursue their passions or simply try something new. UB clubs help build a sense of belonging and True Blue pride in the university. To help, UBNow has introduced Club Watch, an occasional feature highlighting one of UB’s many student clubs or organizations that you may not know about — but should.
It’s Friday night in the basement of Clark Hall on the South Campus, where it’s dark and gritty and sweaty, and just where you’d expect to find the Boxing Club.
The ring is inside an old racquetball court, where head coach Kristen McMurtee is barking orders to two fighters. Senior Sam Dashley, the club’s president, sits ringside on a bench, donning gloves and headgear while awaiting his turn to spar.
“I would say people have an impression of what it’s like in the ring, but they don’t know until they’re actually in the ring,” Dashley said. “It drains you — really fast.”
“The first time you’re going to have your adrenaline flowing. You’re going to be shaky, a little nervous,” Dashley explained, “And then, you’re going to get hit for the first time and you’re going to be like, ‘Wow. So that’s what it feels like.’”
While Boxing Club may sound a bit intimidating, as many as 60 students showed up for the second practice of the semester. Most of its members are new to the club and slowly eased in during the semester before getting their shot in the ring.
They’re introduced to the basics and taught proper form and movement, and how to throw punches and jabs. There’s a lot of conditioning — running, jumping rope, working the bags.
“For the beginners, usually it’s a mix of just form,” said first-year student Leo Jahmuratha. “You work on the fundamentals first — punching the air a little bit, jumping rope, working on our stamina.”
It’s only the third practice for Jahmuratha, a former high school wrestler, but so far he’s enjoyed it.
“I just bought the gloves,” he said. “I’m ready to get going.”
Among the newcomers is third-year student Malik Jump, who said his interest in self-defense and combat technique is what brought him here to the Clark basement. He previously spent two years taking Karate and during his sophomore year joined the Tae Kwon Do Club.
“I said, ‘Why not join boxing?’” Jump said. “This is my first official practice.”
Dashley loves it. Since joining the club his first year at UB, boxing has been a de-stressor for him and given him more discipline in his studies.
“We do have a lot of fall off just because people don’t understand what they’re getting themselves into,” Dashley acknowledged.
“You’re going to be very tired — exhausted,” Dashley said. “But if you hang in there, all your hard work really pays off.”
How to join: New membership is closed for the current semester, but those interested in joining next semester are welcome to stop by the gym for a visit. Practices are held in the basement of Clark Hall on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 6-7 p.m. for the experienced members and from 7-8 p.m. for the inexperienced. For more information, or to reach out to the club directly, visit the Boxing Club at UBLinked.