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Local boxing club makes students physically and mentally stronger

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Local boxing club makes students physically and mentally stronger

Two Macon boxers practice.

Two Macon boxers practice.

Brittany Harvey

Two Macon boxers practice.

Brittany Harvey

Brittany Harvey

Two Macon boxers practice.

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Sports have the power to change lives. They can serve as a positive way to spend time, a way to get in physical shape or just a way to relieve some stress.

Earnest Butts said he grew up in a drug infested community in south Macon during the 1970s. He was never big enough to make a football team or tall enough to play basketball.

At an early age, Butts found boxing.

“Boxing has changed my life. Boxing gave me a drive to know that one day I can be something,” he said. “ I was able to take that tool and go forward with it.”

Over 40 years have passed, and now Butts spends his days teaching that skill to Macon and Middle Georgia residents.

“I’m able to share it with people who always want to do it and at a very economical price. It’s exciting,” Butts said.

The Macon-Bibb United Boxing Club, where Butts is the boxing coordinator, is entering its third year of providing amateur and professional training in Macon for adults and kids as young as eight.

“It’s for people who have the ability to box and people who just want to get in the best shape of their life,” he said. “We offer one-on-one services and basic personal training. It varies depending on what you’re asking for.”

The club also offers opportunities for members to participate in local and national competitions.

The club hosts bouts, inviting boxers ages 8 to 34 from all over the state and region to come to Macon. Participants are matched up according to their age and size.

Brittany Harvey
A Macon boxer adjusts his gloves.

Mercer student Akihiro Nakamura started attending the club last year. Since then, he’s participated in seven amateur bouts, winning six of them. He has also accumulated two championship belts.

Nakamura is a junior information science technology major and computer science minor who fights in the featherweight class. For amateurs, this class weighs from 123-132 pounds. He started attending the boxing club during the beginning of his sophomore year.

“At 12, I started doing kickboxing until I was 19 years old,” he said. “I switched over to boxing after.”

Akihiro said he’s gotten a lot stronger mentally and physically.

“Boxing taught me to be very calm in high stress situations,” he said. “Boxing is about taking your time. You can’t let your emotions get in the way of your thinking.”

Akihiro said if he has an assignment due, he doesn’t panic too much.

“Boxing taught me to think about what I need to do and to think more clearly,” he said.

He wants to continue boxing after graduation and maybe even pursue professional boxing and the olympics.

Butts wanted to encourage students to come in and take advantage of the services that the club offers. The club is located on Roff Avenue, and they’re open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday. They also host open gym hours from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“People think of boxing, and they think of combatting,” Butts said. “But it’s controlled boxing. It’s not like we come in here and let them go at it.”

He said that not every kid in the community can make a sports team, but at the club, you are your own one-on-one team.

“With it being right here in the community, we have kids that are able to walk to the gym instead of having to go five or six miles where they have to drive,” he said.

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Local boxing club makes students physically and mentally stronger