i used to box. now, i'm terrible at it (i think; it's been a while).
i took lessons in the fall of 95 (before chicks boxed). i was living in brooklyn at the time and attending law school in NYC. i heard about Gleason's Gym. mike tyson used to train there. it was supposed to be gritty and a no bullshit kinda place. so i went. it's in DUMBO ("down under the manhattan bridge overpass"). dumbo now is a chic area -- but back then it was full of warehouses and artist lofts from artists who left soho b/c of the ridiculous rents. gleason's was on the second or third floor of this warehouse. you climb up the echoing concrete stairs and the door to the gym was propped open by a folding chair. i could hear the workout noise on my way up.
i was the only woman at gleason's. i sat there for forever. couldn't find the manager. no one would talk to me. no one asked me shit. finally, some guy came up to me and says, "i'm interviewing for columbia college about female boxers. can i interview you?"
i replied, "i'm not a boxer b/c no one in this fucking gym will teach me." he didn't care. he said i was the only person sitting there and not hitting bags (which was true) so he interviewed me about why i wanted to box. i told him, "i like hitting things."
after the interview, i sat for a while longer and then walked around some more to see if i could find someone. lo! the manager was in his office. so i just walked in. he was on the phone. he just looked at me and i took off my sneaker and took a folded $100 bill out, put my shoe back on. he gets off the phone and i put the money on his desk and say, "i'm here to box and no one will fucking talk to me and i have a hundred dollars and i'm not leaving." he grins, and gets on his loudspeaker and says "angel rivera, angel rivera.... come to the office" and this beautiful, spanish-looking beaming guy comes in and looks at me and smiles.
he goes, "so you wanna box huh?"
angel taught me how to box that day. kicked my ASS up and down a thousand times. but i loved it. did all the bags, jumped rope, in the ring, sparred with him, you name it. thought it was all over and he says, "oh no, we're just beginning." and he takes me over to the workout section with a flat table with duct tape covering the rips and makes me do crunches till i was screaming.
i ran all the way home with my hands still wrapped and later that day when my roommate came home, i made her spar with me in the living room.