Boxing
Archie Johnson blocks a right cross from Aieti Poloka, Aug. 4 during a boxing class at Newman Fitness Center.

<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b> Aca,!" Jimmy "The Hurricane" Williams is helping Fort Stewart make a healthy impact on community members with boxing classes at Newman Fitness Center.

As a three-time All-Army champion and boxing professional who worked alongside all-time greats like Gerry Connie and Archie Moore, Williams understands the full potential of the sport.

"Boxing is a good cardio workout," Williams said. "It keeps a person in shape, but with dedication it can change a person's life. It can build confidence and discipline."

Williams, who has been boxing for nearly 35 years, now teaches Soldiers and community members boxing basics and tactics at Newman. His students learn stance, footwork, defense and combinations.

"I can teach just about anybody good boxing principals in about 30 minutes," Williams said. "It's about quickness and using your body when you punch."

The origin of fighting dates back to earliest man and has been recorded during the Greek Olympic competitions. However, boxing didn't become an official sport at the modern Olympics until it was included as a demonstration in the 1904 St. Louis games. Boxing was then made a medal sport in the London games in 1908, according to en.wikipedia.org.

Boxing has changed over the years and rules and safety considerations have refined the sport into the modern martial arts it is today.

The U.S. Boxing Association governs all official boxing events with rules of the game that can be found at www.usaboxing.org.

The sport is open to both male and female boxers, who compete in one of 11 Olympic-style weight classes: light flyweight (106 pounds), flyweight (112 pounds), bantamweight (119 pounds), featherweight (125 pounds), lightweight (132 pounds), light welterweight (141 pounds), welterweight (152 pounds), middleweight (165 pounds) light heavyweight (178 pounds), heavyweight (201 pounds), and super heavyweight (+201 pounds).

To compete, fighters enter a square rink ranging between 16 and 20 feet guarded by at least four ropes; the opponents face each other for a certain amount of rounds, usually two minutes for amateurs with one-minute rest periods between. Using speed, agility and various defenses and punching techniques, fighters attempt to score points by striking his or her opponent above the waist, while being watched by a referee and three judges.

At Stewart, students take boxing classes for various reasons, and Williams said he'll continue to teach as long as the students are dedicated and willing to learn.

"Boxing is a very healthy sport," said Dwayne Romer, assistant manager at Newman Fitness Center. "It provides a good cardio workout while working with hand-eye coordination. And, as a bonus, students learn a little bit about self defense."

Williams currently coaches about 10 active students with two assistant coaches, Martin Jefferson and Tracy "TKO" Rucker.

Among the students are a number of experienced fighters.

Aieti Poloka, from American Samoa, started learning boxing about four years ago. Introduced to the sport by his father, Poloka now trains with Williams.

"He (Williams) has a lot of experience and is a good coach," said Poloka. "He has taught me a lot of things I didn't know."

Poloka said he hopes this experience will help him get on the Army boxing team.

One of the most experienced fighters training at Newman under Williams is Curtis Waller. Waller has been fighting for about seven years and has an amateur fighting record of 4-2. Williams said Waller has the 'right stuff' to make it further.

"He has great potential," Williams said. "He's a southpaw fighter, and can mix it up really well."

Another fighter-in-training is Archie Johnson, a boxer from New Orleans, La. who started training three years ago. Williams spoke highly of the 191-pound fighter, adding he would be devastating, even at 175 pounds.

Linh Nguyen, a mixed martial arts style fighter, started training with Williams about two months ago. Williams said he hopes to see him compete in an upcoming boxing tournament at Fort Gordon, Aug. 19.

Additionally, several women boxers continuously prove that boxing isn't just one-gendered, including Natsia Martin, who said she started boxing after she found out the classes were free, and realized it would help keep her busy during her husband's deployment.

If you'd like more information on boxing classes taught at Newman, contact the fitness center at 767-3033.

Page last updated Fri August 15th, 2008 at 15:37