It’s time to counterpunch some calories, send those kilograms down for the count, and learn some new skills at the boxing gym.

Two young ladies assume their best Rocky pose, or is that Million Dollar Baby pose?

They reach forward to tap their gloves in a boxers’ handshake, and as the trainer calls out “forward, punch … forward, punch,” they begin their drill. One of the boxers leads with a controlled right jab; her opponent draws back and raises her left guard.

Any ideas you have of boxing being a sport solely for dedicated fighters, Olympic contenders or tough brawlers are quickly dispelled when you visit a boxing gym these days. Boxing is very much a social sport as I discovered when I visited the sporting and physical fitness facility at Griffith University’s Nathan Campus.

The Boxing Shop began in 2005 with just a few sets of gymnastic rings and punching bags and has grown to become a one-stop shop – from kids’ coordination and self-development, to weight loss for adults, and training centre for Olympic and professional-style boxing.

“We’re a family-owned business who teaches boxing skills and technique, and promise you will get fit at the same time,” says head female coach Shara Romer.

“They’re not going to throw you in the ring and have a go at you,” says Esala Roqica, a regular at the gym and former rugby league player who lost more than 15 kilograms since beginning his boxing training.

He is hoping to represent Fiji at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games.

“For me, an office job, cappuccinos and long lunches were taking their toll. From the get-go I was learning about perfect stance, how to do it properly and my confidence grew. Before I even got into the ring I was feeling confident with what I could do.”

Particularly popular are the women-only ‘butterfly boxing’ sessions. “The ladies get in, get it done, have a shower and go to work,” Shara says. “They get to float like a butterfly, but sting like a bee!”

There’s no excuse not to try it – your first week at The Boxing Shop is free.

“Come to as many sessions in the first week as you want,” says Shara. “And then for a joinup fee of $70 you get it all – gloves, hand-wraps, training shirt and skipping rope. We’re not about entrapping people – if you come in and
like it, then that’s great!”

The Boxing Shop is at The Hub, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan. Tel: 1300 660 017.