Boxing club prepares for Olympic-style event.
By Michael Peters
Under the watchful eye of Hector Ramos, decorated amateur boxer and coach of this college’s boxing club, 20 boxers worked tirelessly on conditioning, technique and movement Monday in Gym 1 of Candler Physical Education Center in preparation for an Olympic-style boxing event Oct. 25.
Ramos, coach of the club since Dec. 2011, traditionally starts practice one month before an event. But this semester, the club began practice Sept. 9 — two weeks ahead of schedule — to “see who really wants it.”
After stretching, the boxers ran laps, and shuffled in a proper stance, around the court perimeter. “Hands up, elbows in,” Ramos encouraged.
The club practiced 1-2 combinations during previous practices. The 1-2 combination is a jab and cross to establish distance and set up other punches. The jab is thrown with the front hand and the cross with the back hand.
“We’re working on uppercuts and hooks today,” Ramos said, excitedly rubbing his hands together. “We’re still going to punch each other, too. That’s the fun part.”
Boxers lined up on the baseline to move forward, and later backwards, while continuously throwing the 1-2 combination. “Keep moving all the way,” Ramos said. “Chin down.”
At one point, Ramos called for the boxers to freeze. He shoved each boxer’s shoulder to check their balance. Five of the 20 boxers lost balance, so Ramos sent them back to begin again.
“Stay relaxed; let your hands go,” Ramos corrected. “Hands back to the face; your legs shouldn’t be touching.”
After a water break, the boxers lined up again to work on technique for throwing the 1-2 combination. The coach shoved each boxer again, and this time, they were able to maintain balance. “Balls of your feet — not your heels,” Ramos clarified.
Ramos demonstrated the 1-2-3 combination, which adds a hook. Hooks, primarily used as power punches, are normally thrown after a set-up combination.
Ramos demonstrated where the punch should properly stop. “Some people have been taught to throw as hard as you can and come around, but that leaves your head and body open,” he said.
Next, Ramos went down the line, hands up in a guard position as the students practiced throwing the 1-2-3 combination. Noting three boxers stop momentarily, Ramos ordered them to do push-ups until he worked his way back down the line. “If I see you stopping, you go into push-up position,” he said. “Continue working. Do not stop.”
Ramos touched on strategy, saying an opponent can block a jab with hands in front of the face. The hook, though, will come around the guard and connect, which could force a boxer to shift the guard to the side, which opens up the front to jabs. In the guard, the boxer keeps his arms up and legs bent to be able to quickly block body or head punches.
“Don’t throw the hook when the round starts,” he said. “A lot of people do it to get a knockout, but you’re not going to knock anybody out.”
Ramos then showed the proper uppercut technique, saying the “safest way” is from the guard stance.
He chose a student to demonstrate. “If someone throws a body shot, your arm is there, so come down and go right into the uppercut,” he said. “If I open up, I can get hit, so keep it safe and bend your legs.”
The boxers partnered for light sparring. “Stay on the line and go 50-60 percent speed and power,” Ramos instructed.
His boxing career includes 193 bouts, 156 victories, 51 by knockout and two years as USA Boxing’s No. 1 ranked light-welterweight.
Ramos donned his gloves. His first “victim” was communication design freshman David Murillo, who struggled with the coach’s reach but remained upbeat. “He has long arms and is very experienced, plus, you can’t move,” Murillo said. “In a ring, it’s easier because you can move.”
Ramos next took on mechanical engineering freshman Anthony Espinosa and kinesiology sophomore Katherine Bouldin. She competed and won her bout in the spring event. Ramos’ long reach forced Bouldin to move quickly to avoid being peppered by jabs.
Next was more conditioning. Boxers threw 10 punches and did four push-ups for a few minutes. Practice ended with flapjacks in which boxers lie flat on their backs and rapidly transition into push-up position.
“How do you feel?” Ramos asked rhetorically. “If you work out during the weekend, you’ll feel better.”
Practice is 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday in the craft room of Loftin.
For more information, call the office of student life at 210-486-0125.