Trying Boxing at UNR and Getting More than Expected

Reporter Anthony Miranda is a regular at the University of Nevada, Reno gym and with intramural sports, so he wanted to give a boxing drop-in class a chance as a way to also exercise, and found it to be the perfect activity for students to destress.

Class attendee, Jared Lamb, squares up the bag with his hands high as he prepares to work his strikes on the bag. Photo by Anthony Miranda.


Sports are a huge part of college not just for the university or collegiate athletes but the student body in general. The collegiate sports at the University of Nevada, Reno, get all the attention as these events provide spectacles for fans while making the university lots of money.

Unfortunately, only a select few can play collegiate sports, so this leaves most students with fewer options.

UNR offers a variety of intramural sports which can be a fun, competitive activity for students to do with their friends. However, UNR also has another avenue for students to remain active and stay fit in a fun environment: attending drop-in classes at the gym.

Classes are available from Monday to Saturday with the earliest classes starting at 6:30 AM and the latest starting at 6:30 PM. There are a staggering 32 different drop-in classes for students to join. Most drop-in classes usually happen once a day, though some have multiple sessions a day, such as the cycle and yoga classes. They are usually about an hour long.

These classes range from yoga, cardio kickboxing, gymnastics cycle, dance bootcamp, and even Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. However, the specific drop-in class that I was able to attend and learn about was the Boxing Skills and Drills class.

Boxing is a unique sport. There are specific skills that come with boxing such as speed, power, and discipline. Boxers have to be quick and well-conditioned for cardio. That’s why boxing can be the perfect class for students to remain active and help them achieve their fitness goals.

Experimental Reporting

I signed up for the class so I could get a better understanding of the drop-in class and I ended up putting the gloves on and doing the workout.

The instructor of the class is the charismatic and funny Dewayne Manning.

“I started boxing when I was 14 years old,” DeWayne Manning said. “I’ve pretty much been doing it ever since and not only boxing, I’ve been into martial arts and I’ve studied various styles.”

This is important for the class as Manning teaches a lot of different aspects of fighting in class.

“You can gain so much from this class,” Manning said. “Not just physical fitness, but it’s known that the better shape you are in the better you function, not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well.”

This demonstrates how beneficial this class can be for people as it can make them healthier in all aspects of life. Now, some people may be a little cautious to try a new class, especially boxing because it can be an intimidating workout. I know I was nervous attending the class for the first time but I had a great experience in part due to Manning and the other students.

“You try to get out of it what you can the first few times,” Manning said. “I tell everybody just take baby steps and work within themselves, the key is to keep coming back… what you put in is what you are gonna get out of it.”

It was this same attitude that helped me calm my nerves and allowed me to focus on having a good workout. This is important for Manning as he wants people to enjoy their time in class as well as better themselves. He has been an instructor for around 20 years and he talked about the reactions from people that consistently come to class.

“I would say 10 out of 10 people always say ‘man it has helped me with other things in my life’,” Manning said. “Whether it’s working out, relieving stress, school work, or social things there’s a variety of things you get out of it.”

From Basic Skills to Finding a Passion

This is what you want to hear from an instructor but it is important to see what class participants have to say. As these are the people that you will be taking the class with and they have been in the shoes of a first-time participant.

The first person I spoke to was graduate student Eneko Tudueri. He talked about what it is like learning a new skill as well as the intensity of the class.

“It is the basics, we are learning the basic skills for boxing so for beginners it’s great,” said Tudueri. “At the same time, there is a bit of cardio in the class so that is great also to keep you fit.”

This displays the versatility of this class as not only are people learning about boxing but they are participating in a solid workout.

“I think it is very good if you are interested in boxing or fighting because the coach focuses a lot on fighting on the street [for self-defense] and it is not only boxing, you can use it for kickboxing and other kinds of fighting,” said Tudueri.

A unique aspect of this drop-in class is there are a multitude of benefits especially if somebody is interested in combat sports. Combat sports like boxing or MMA are not as popular or widely available as other sports like football, basketball, and soccer. However, this Boxing Skills and Drills drop-in class gives people the opportunity to try something new and it may even be someone’s new passion.

The biggest roadblock for these classes is that newcomers are often too nervous to sign up for the class. Boxing may be an unfamiliar experience and people have to work out with random strangers. However, these concerns should not outweigh the chance to have fun with the boxing class.

“It is very nice, I think most of them are undergraduate students but I am a graduate student,” said Tudueri. “They are super nice people and it is a friendly atmosphere where we help each other when the coach can not help.”

“The environment is pretty chill for a workout class. Everyone is here because they want to be here,” said Lamb. “Everyone is pretty nice, easygoing, and easy to get along with as well and the instructor also creates a pretty chill vibe and atmosphere.”

Being Pushed to Work Harder

This is a similar experience to another regular who takes the boxing class, Jared Lamb (in picture above). He discussed his first experience in the class and his thoughts on the environment.

“I was a little intimidated by the instructor at first and I didn’t really know much about it but now I have gotten to know the instructor better and I’m used to the class more,” said Lamb.

This is why it is important to give new experiences a fair shot because one has the opportunity to find a new fun activity. I was nervous attending the class for this story but I realized that all the members of the class are there for a reason and everyone wants to have a good time.

“I found that it is a really good way to stay in shape and I’m trying to lose weight and keep in shape,” said Lamb. “This class really pushes me harder than I would be able to push myself just going to the gym alone.”

As mentioned earlier there are a lot of drop-in classes offered at the UNR gym and most of them favor fitness. Even if learning boxing is not your main goal, the class itself is high-intensity to help you get in shape. This is what makes the boxing class special as it draws a variety of people because some come to stay in shape while others want to learn the basics of boxing.

Lamb talked about why other people should come to join the Boxing Skills and Drills class.

“Yeah for sure, if you are trying to find a good way to keep in shape this class is great,” said Lamb. “If you want to learn a little bit about self-defense then you can probably learn some good stuff here too.”

This shines a light on how fun this Boxing Skills and Drills class can be. It is a safe environment where people can meet friends and fitness goals. I’m sure that all of the drop-in classes have their own stories and their own fun to be had. However, if you want to learn new boxing skills, learn to defend yourself, and get in shape in a fun and kind environment then the drop-in boxing class might be the right class for you.

Reynolds Sandbox reporting by Anthony Miranda



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Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.