Boxing’s Popularity Continues in Petaluma

Boxing isn’t just a sport for pros like Ali and Tyson; students in Petaluma box for fun, fitness, and fullfilment. Nor-Cal speed, a local gym, fosters the growth of both the mind and body.


Photo by Andrew Gotshall

Boxer Josmar Altamirano practices his skills at Nor-Cal Speed Boxing

Boxing, a sport often overlooked and glamorized as a dangerous ploy from the entertainment industry, has an extensive history full of intricate rules and origins. Conceived in ancient Greece, this fighting sport has been a consistent favorite throughout time, even continuing into the modern era as a medium for improving the fitness of students on our campus.

The first evidence of boxing was seen in ancient Greece. It continued until one man acknowledged defeat, and was practiced outside so that heat would increase difficulty. In today’s time, the same style of attack and defense remains, but there is a strict following of the Marquess of Queensberry rules: these require contestants to wear padded gloves, rounds to consist of three minutes of fighting followed by a minute of rest, competitors to refrain from wrestling (as it is illegal), and fighters who are knocked down to get up within ten seconds. Competitors are also matched by weight and ability, making it possible for anybody to win.

Albeit this sport first made its appearance in ancient times, its popularity has not diminished. Sophomore Dante Chavez shares how his father, a professional boxer and Golden Glove champion, introduced him to the sport.

“My dad got me into boxing when I was four years old. He would train in the garage with my sister, and I eventually came out and joined,” said Chavez.

Although seemingly focused on the power of a punch, boxing involves a variety of skills including speed, swift lateral movements, defensive head movement, combination punching, effective counterpunching, and calculated footwork. The typical workout of a boxer consists of abdominal and upper body exercises, jump rope and cardio, followed by sparring. Chavez noted the athletic discipline required to box.

“We train for around three hours at a time and go on runs frequently. Right now I’m trying to train every day of the week, but it’s difficult since I have work now too,” said Chavez.

“…I have to walk out tired or dead.”

— Josmar Altamirano

Senior Josmar Altamirano, a boxer who started three years ago, mentions why boxing is so unique compared to team sports.

“[The most unique aspect about boxing is] being able to simply fight, that’s what makes it unique. Fighting with others is something you just desire to do. I’ve been into combat sports my entire life,” said Altamirano.

Chavez expands on the independence and self-reliance taught by the sport.

“It’s not like a team sport; it is very individual. It’s not a packed team, it’s just simply two people fighting against one another. If you mess up, someone else isn’t going to pick up your slack. It’s just you doing it yourself,” said Chavez.

Boxing, initially practiced until competitors experienced physical weakness, has received heavy criticism for its violent nature. Since the sport was initially praised for resulting in blood loss, disfigurement, and occasional death, there has been a focus on boxing coaches to keep their boxers from putting themselves in danger. Altamirano explains how coaches are strict on the sport’s disciplinary component.

“They want you to be dedicated, and if you’re not dedicated then you’re just fooling around…The coaches are also very strict. You can’t come to practice if you’re in trouble or getting into fights,” said Altamirano.

One popular gym to train at in Petaluma is Nor-Cal Speed Boxing, whether it be for first-timers looking for a new form of exercise or competitors seeking victory. Altamirano offers his final thoughts about the independent sport.

“I always have a mindset that I need to accomplish something every day in that boxing gym, and I have to walk out tired or dead,” said Altamirano.