New Marshalltown Boxing Club trains anyone to pack a punch

The La Raza Marshalltown Boxing Club has been up and running for the past month, with founders saying they’ve already cultivated a family.

President of the La Raza Marshalltown Boxing Club Roberto Gonzalez said La Raza translates to “the race,” as in “the people — the human race,” making the club’s name mean “the people of Marshalltown Boxing Club.”

Gonzalez said he knew about a Marshalltown boxing club which used to run out of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, hearing the club was a positive force in the community.

“Why not bring it back and give kids the tools they need to become leaders and give them confidence to accomplish greater goals in life,” Gonzalez said.

The new club’s mission is to help anyone and train anyone, no matter their background or their goals, whether it’s to be in shape, to learn how to fight or to defend. Children can begin training at age 7 and adults of any age are welcome to train.

As a non-profit, the club survives on donations and sponsorships. All boxing equipment needed to get started was already owned by the coaches themselves, each of them all putting in together to get the club going. All funds the club receives go back into the club, such as the purchase of new equipment, rent for the building and travel costs for tournaments.

Believing boxing can give others tools for success in life, the club’s coaches have placed a focus on youth mentorship.

Head coach and secretary Luis Alejandre grew up in California, where he said he was previously involved in criminal activity and gangs.

“I didn’t have the right people to guide me to take me to the right path,” Alejandre said.

Boxing helped him get out of trouble, he said, teaching him discipline, responsibility and respect. His goal now is to pass on the same lessons he learned from the sport.

Treasurer and coach Adan Rodriguez said the club wants to help guide kids towards a better path and away from drugs, alcohol and bullying. He said boxing has personally helped him build a better character within himself.

“You got another person on you, you’re trying to breathe, you’re getting hit, and it builds that confidence when you go outside and you know you can handle a situation like that,” Rodriguez said. “When you go out there and you think you’re all this and that, there’s always going to be someone bigger, stronger, faster than you. Boxing is something that really humbles you down.”

Gonzalez said he is amazed at how boxing is similar to life itself and feels boxing goes hand-in-hand with life. Like boxing, life isn’t easy.

“Life is going to hit you, life is going to drop you, you got to do whatever you can to get up and keep up,” Gonzalez said.

He said a lot of people want to jump in the ring and start swinging, but it takes a lot of courage plus both physical strength and mental stability to get in the ring for 12 rounds, with even just one minute of sparring being a long time in the ring.

Rodriguez said anyone looking to train should expect to be pushed and shouldn’t expect anything to be easy.

“There’s gonna be good days and bad days, but if you keep showing up that’s what really matters. You’re going to improve every day,” he said.

With around 23 kids in training and around 10 adults so far, Rodriguez said the club already feels like family.

“It’s unity when we’re all in here,” he said.

In the future, the club wants to bring USA Boxing events to Marshalltown and to bring trainees to tournaments to compete when they’re ready.

“We’ll do our best to give you the best training we can,” Gonzalez said. “You do your best to come in with a humble attitude and that is to work and listen to us.”

The club is at 1103 W. Lincoln Way in. From Monday through Friday, kids train from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and adults train at 6 p.m to 7 p.m. Those interested can show up to the club during training hours to complete a new member form. The cost to join is $50 per month for children and $60 per month for adults.

Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.


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