Colby Boxing hits Waterville

One of Colby’s hottest new organizations, the Boxing Club, debuted this semester. Led by founder Zeke Edwards-Mizel `22, the club trains out of O’Leary’s Fitness in downtown Waterville every Sunday at 3 p.m. 

The club caters to range of comfort levels; while some members have been boxing for a few years, most are brand new to the sport. Newcomers and veterans alike start with the basics and what’s more quintessentially boxing than the jump rope? 

Whether you take it slow like Sam Donahue `22 or you whip the rope like Edwards-Mizel, the grueling 15 minutes will feel more like 30 and you’ll almost be begging for some ladder drills. After another ten minutes or so of dedicated leg work on the ladder, your legs will be screaming for mercy and it’ll be time to switch over to punching. 

All members will quickly learn how to cover their hands with boxing wraps, protecting key joints and binding the hand into a sturdy fist. 

Now it’s time for the speed-bag: a leather bag hanging from a board in between the size of a tennis and soccer ball. At this stage, one must work on timing and fast hands, striking the bag in triplet intervals while it bounces back and forth on the board it hangs from. Again, whether you’re at Donahue’s cat-pawing-at-a-toy or Edwards-Mizel’s so-fast-it-sounds-like-a-hum speed, there’s always room for improvement.

Now comes the fun part: punching and mitts. Students finally throw on the gloves with the opportunity to work on form, combos, and just get to release some stress on the many punching bags hanging from the ceiling. Opportunity also arises to work in the ring with a trainer for some “mitts.”

 Here, students will get to try combos against a moving target and speed it up as they get comfortable with the coinciding footwork. Boxing is a phenomenal workout, training cardio, strength, and even rhythm. With the vast success of the club, Edwards-Mizel has been nothing but pleased.

“The Club has had great attendance and has had the good fortune to train with nationally ranked heavyweight Justin Rolfe and his coach Mike O’Leary.”

Rolfe is the real deal. Ranking 81 in the country, Rolfe has been on a steady rise since starting his career in 2018. Rolfe fights in the heavyweight division and has a whopping 3 KOs in only 4 bouts. His next fight will be in November in Quincy, Massachusetts Rolfe trains regularly at O’Leary’s, giving students an opportunity to receive guidance from a real pro. O’Leary himself serves as Rolfe’s manager, while running the gym as well.

Colby is incredibly fortunate to have such a world class training facility under ten minutes away on College Avenue. Walking into O’Leary’s felt like entering a Rocky movie with all the modern accoutrements to train like a champion. Surrounding the ring and training equipment, newspaper clippings and mementos fill the walls making you feel like you could be a page in the history of boxing. The gym is currently moving, but only next door to a larger space that can only produce an even more exciting facility. 

O’Leary loves the club and interest that Colby students have been showing since Edwards-Mizel started training a year ago. He is quick with a joke and loves asking what everyone is studying, but his true love is boxing and it shows. O’Leary isn’t the type of owner who opens and closes, wasting away in some office space to kill the day, he’s hands-on, in the ring holding up mitts or correcting your form. I’ve yet to find a warmer community around. 

The Boxing Club is the ideal opportunity for students to connect to Waterville, while getting a workout in, within the perfect carefree let’s-have-some-fun environment. O’Leary is always looking for volunteers to help out during the week for various classes centered around children with disabilities or the elderly.