|Elks Boxing Club instructor Chris Montoya assists a youngster interested in the sport of boxing with her gloves. The club is open to anyone interested in participating in the sport from ages three to 99. Montoya feels that by allowing the community to participate in such a program, street violence, along with alcohol and drug abuse in the community may be reduced. Boxing is not just a sport of flying fists, it is also a sport of dedication and hard work for all who participate.|
Over the past several years, the sport of boxing has become more than just a sport of flying fists, it has become a pastime that attracts millions of viewers yearly.
In a sport that views champions as heroes, there is one common link between its athletes. They have all started in a small gym learning the basics of the sport before ever even thinking of becoming the undisputed champion of the world.
Carbon County has been the site of boxing clubs in the past. For the past several years, however the county has lacked such a training facility. Things have changed.
The Elks boxing club has officially opened its doors once again for anyone interested in competing in the sport. The main goal is to not teach students how to box, but to give the athletes a chance to build strong friendships, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and to provide a pastime for anyone interested in the sport of boxing.
The ring leader of the club is Chris Montoya, a former student of the boxing club and the son of the trainer who started it all, Ray Montoya Sr.
Evidence of the boxing school is located in the dark basement room at the Elk's Club. Pictures from the past linger on the cement walls of the great moments the school has provided in the past. Included amongst these pictures is a photo of trainer Chris, when he competed for the first time at the age of three, with his father at his side.
Montoya enjoys sharing these photos with anyone who enters the room, but most of all, he would like to add his own memories to the wall through the athletes that he now trains.
The club recently reopened its doors and currently has approximately 20 athletes that are training to become well conditioned boxers. Boxing may be the main focus of the club, however hard work and dedication accompany this goal.
The athletes practice four times a week and along with sparring in the ring, the athletes endure a fierce workout. The first 20 minutes of practice includes exercise that prepares the athletes for competition. After exercising quite intensely, the athletes then move on to more training, including jump roping, hammering the punching bags, and sparring in the ring. By the end of the night, it is amazing that these athletes can make it to the top of the steep winding steps that lead the way out of the training basement.
Despite all the hard work, it is obvious that all who participate in the club enjoy it. Not only determination and dedication are expressed across each athletes face, but also sheer enjoyment.
Montoya's goal is to prepare the athletes of the club for competition. Hopefully, in six months to a year, the club will be prepared to host boxing events for the public to enjoy. The competitions will not only give the athletes experience in the ring, but also allow the public to enjoy the efforts that the athletes give during competition.
The club is currently working with older equipment. Although still in good shape, the equipment is still in need of upgrading.
The fee to participate in the club is $15 a month to provide funding for equipment repairs and replacement. Although a fee is required, often times Montoya finds himself waiving this fee to allow dedicated athletes who cannot afford the fee to participate. "I just want to help out as many kids as I can. If I can keep the kids off the streets and away from drugs, I will do whatever I can to make a difference. By allowing these kids to compete in the ring, keeps them from fighting in the streets," explains Montoya.
In order to maintain equipment and keep the club running, donations may be made to the organization. Through donations, the club will be able to provide sufficient equipment needed to train and condition these dedicated athletes.
The boxing club is opened to anyone interested. Montoya encourages "anyone from the ages of three to 99 to come and compete. You don't have to be young to compete, just enjoy the sport and be dedicated to the training."
The club practices Monday through Thursday, 5-7p.m. and the public is welcome to attend. Anyone who is interested in participating should meet with Montoya at this time.
Dedication, hard work, determination, and confidence are all qualities that link the boxing stars of Carbon County to the undisputed champions of the world. Who knows, maybe one day a star from the Elk's boxing club just might headline at Caesar's Palace, and proudly display the gold belt.