JCC members are now able to get a boxer’s workout in the gym, thanks to two generous donors.
Boxing enthusiasts Bud Shardein and Mark Eichengreen helped the JCC procure three key pieces of boxing equipment — a heavy bag, a speed bag and a double end bag – for the lower gym.
“I’d like to see it used. I hope people take advantage of it,” Shardein said.
Shardein, who has had a family membership at the JCC since 1972, has been involved in boxing in various capacities nearly all his life.
He was bullied as a young teen growing up in the Portland neighborhood, and his father took him to a local gym to train and learn to defend himself.
“I realized there was a science to it, it’s not just guys out there throwing punches,” he said. “To me, it’s the greatest sport in the world. It requires a great deal of respect for your opponent.”
He practiced hard and went on to fight in amateur bouts and 21 professional boxing matches in a number of states until he was 43 years old. He’s now 55. In those days, he was in the upper 5 percent of his weight division, he said.
“I think I was a good journeyman,” he said, meaning he was considered a boxer with adequate skill, but didn’t have the caliber of a contender or gatekeeper.
He’s always stayed active in the gym and has served as a member of the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Authority.
After he retired as director of the Metropolitan Sewer District, he started a boxing program for Portland youth at the nonprofit Neighborhood House.
His friend and fellow JCC member Mark Eichengreen asked him to show him some boxing moves.
They worked with Ron Peacock, JCC fitness director, to get the bags so they could continue practicing, and other members can too.
Shardein said the equipment can benefit any workout routine, regardless of whether a person intends to get into the ring. Fitness experts agree working with bags can improve balance, strength and offer a good cardio workout.
Members must be 18 years or older to use the boxing area. Boxing gloves are required. If you do not have your own, a pair can be checked out at the Health and Wellness desk.
Shardein said he doesn’t mind showing people the ropes about technique and the JCC may offer programming with the equipment in the future.
If you are interested in incorporating boxing into your workout routine, please see Ron Peacock, Fitness Director, at 502-238-2791 or one of the JCC personal trainers.