As a way to stay in shape, maintain mental health, and build a family environment on campus, the AUC Boxing Club is in its second year of introducing the sport to a new group of students.
The club reaches out to all students within the Atlanta University Center to teach the fundamentals of boxing and create a community for them to grow.
“When it comes to boxing, everyone is the same. We all meet and check on each other 24/7. That’s what we do,” said Jacoby Bell, a Senior at Morehouse College.
Bell and his classmate, Bryce, created the club in 2021 to share their passion for boxing.
Since he was in the ninth grade, Bell started boxing in his hometown of Covington, Ga., which became a way to help him destress and keep his cool under pressure. His sparring partners and coaches became his second family, and he wanted to recreate that feeling at his soon-to-be alma mater.
“With Morehouse having that family and brotherhood culture, I was looking for people interested in boxing, and so we threw a fight night on accident,” Bell said.
The “accident” started when he sent out texts and posts on his group chats for everyone to come to Purdue Hall and spar in the lobby. Over 100 people showed up for the unauthorized event but got in trouble for breaking the COVID-19 rules restricting large gatherings on school grounds. The group broke the rules, but the administrators saw a need to help the students interact with each other.
“[The school] reached out to us and said ‘y’all won’t be in trouble if you start a club, and we will help you start it,’” Bell said.
Forming the AUC Boxing Club through Morehouse College, they decided to focus the club on teaching boxing, tools to help their mental health, and building a close-knit family away from family while meeting at different locations throughout the AUC like Morehouse’s tennis courts or the promenade on Clark Atlanta University’s campus.
“We’re teaching freshmen to build their confidence and give them a family within the boxing club and connect with different people,” Bell said.
Bell told HBCU Gameday that he and his volunteer coaches from boxing gyms around the Atlanta metro area teach the students foundational boxing skills like basic footwork, positioning their hands for defense, and throwing punches.
“We teach the defense first because we’re never trying to start a fight or altercation,” Bell said.
The club is also planning classes for female students in the AUC to teach them self-defense techniques and scheduling study sessions when it’s time for midterms and final exams.
What Bell says he gets out of the club the most is being able to mentor other students in the AUC and creating a safe space for them to get help when they need it.
“It’s not always easy to go to counseling or the doctor,” Bell said, “but it’s not hard to come and sit on the tennis court and workout for a little bit or just talk.”
The club’s hard work and skills will be put to the test as they host a fight night at Morehouse’s Walter E. Massey Leadership Center on Nov. 2.
The live event will feature several matches between the AUC Boxing Club members and the Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University clubs. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $5.
Click Here to purchase tickets.