I love shooting boxers and boxing. Recently I visited Tony’s Boxing Gym, located in the Trinidad section of Washington, D.C. On this particular evening, there were about 8 about athletes training, most of them preparing for a tournament on that upcoming Saturday in Waldorf, Maryland. I met Justin and Adam, ages 9 and 10 respectively, as well as newly-turned professional Marcus Bates, 22 years old and currently undefeated as a featherweight. I was most intrigued with the one young lady who was training. Her name is Taloni, a 17 year old high school senior. She told me that she had always wanted to box but her mother was understandably afraid for her daughter’s safety. After much persistence, her mother relented approximately one year ago. The loudest punch I heard that night was a powerful body blow that Taloni delivered to her male teenage sparring partner. The impact was so strong that timeout was called as it took the young man several moments to recover and regain his composure.
The atmosphere at Tony’s is energetic, fast-paced and serious. There is constant movement and loud chatter as the seasoned old-school coaches shout out instructions on proper technique, footwork, breathing and exhorting them to be decisive and precise when releasing punches. In the background, there is the din of other athletes on the speed and heavy bags, jumping rope, shadow boxing and getting individual attention from other trainers.