According to Duke’s Boxing and Fitness Assistant Coach Louis Bousquet, “The girls are always tougher.”
Located at 6565 Trigo Rd., Duke’s Boxing and Fitness tries to knock down stereotypes, Bousquet said. Its members include men and women and many of them do not fit the typical boxer image. The studio is currently open for its second year of business, providing three boxing classes a day from Monday through Thursday with an additional class on Saturday. The gym is also open for casual use Monday through Friday.
Owner Henry Calles said he hopes his gym provides a healthy alternative for Isla Vista residents.
“I wanted to build something in the community that was positive, that would help keep students out of partying,” Calles said. “It seems to be developing its own community.”
Calles said he wanted Duke’s to present its members with more than just an average gym. In addition to the traditional gym activities, Duke’s also teaches boxing lessons and fitness training. Members are allotted time for hands-on experience. Every Friday, sparring matches are scheduled at 5 p.m., giving attendees a chance to put their newfound skills to the test in a simulated match. One-on-one sessions are also an option, with two award-winning veterans on hand to facilitate training and practice.
Bousquet said Duke’s has a 60-40 ratio of girls to boys among its members.
Each member of the gym also has a unique reason to attend. While some go to the gym to bulk up, fourth-year history major Xavier Jauregui said the training is also an effective way of slimming down.
“It isn’t Tae Bo – it’s the sweet science,” Jauregui said. “You can not only get fit, but also lose weight. I came in here starting at 330 lbs, and now I’m down to 275.”
Students make up 90 percent of the gym’s clientele, and are encouraged to try any one class at Duke’s Gym free of charge. They have a full spectrum of people, ranging from beginners to champion fighters. No matter what a particular member’s experience is, Bousquet said that boxers at any level of skill can still refine their skills.
“Boxing is a noble art, where there is always room for improvement,” said Bousquet.
The flat registration fee is $75 dollars, which includes boxing gloves, hand wraps and a semi-personal introductory lesson. Other monthly fees apply, depending on the number of weekly classes taken.
In the next few months, Duke’s is looking to expand its premises by 600 square feet. This will enable the gym to put on amateur bouts and start planning for its ultimate goal – to start UCSB’s first official boxing team. More information is available at the Duke’s Boxing and Fitness Web site, www.dukesboxing.com.