Boxing in a church03 June 2016
Dutch boxing draws international attention
Entering in the 1572 Roman Catholic Cathedral in Roosendaal, one stand amazed. Between impressive columns, beautiful arches and beautiful ornaments stood a boxing ring: in the middle of the church. Only the confessional remained unused. The impressive space was fully equipped to host a boxing gala. The crowded stands were built in layered stage parts and reached all the way up to the railing of the choir. A unique setting! And the boxers were in their element.
Those, who took the trouble to look behind the theater curtains, could look upon beautiful podium girls and dancers on the altar before the tabernacle, trying on their clothing, while the boxers and coaches quietly went about their warm-up routines.
The Dutch Boxing Association is constantly looking for new approaches to reach a larger audience. It did so before. The Ben Bril Memorial has been staged in the 125-year old theater Amsterdam Carré for many years now. The exclusive evening is always sold out. Similar success is scheduled for an upcoming boxing gala on a large international cruise ship.
The vision behind boxing is important for the Dutch Boxing Association. Don’t walk the beaten track, dare to start something new. Under the energetic presidency of Boris van der Vorst, who as a former boxer often trains at one of the eighty Dutch boxing clubs, a lot has changed.
Priority number one of course remains competitive boxing, and the whole country is delighted that Peter Müllenberg is the first Dutchman in 24 years who will participate in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
But doors open with the slogan: boxing is for everyone. Recreational boxing is growing exponentially. For example, a club in Den Haag weekly hosts about a thousand men and women who partake in urban boxing lessons, purely to keep fit. It is one of many Dutch boxing communities in miniature. Both young and old, that is. Kids in Rotterdam, among other cities, get boxing lessons at school. Additionally, special boxing lessons are organized for children who are overweight or who have behavioral problems. Even former boxers get extra attention; veterans of 40 years and older (up to 55 years) are sparring again with great pleasure. An ecstatic audience, and golden ages come back to life.
Business boxing is another one of those new emerging trends, attracting full houses. After several months of training under the guidance of a qualified instructor, and after a rigorous medical examination, executives of large companies and businessmen step into the ring to show their boxing skills to the audience, mostly employees. This types of commercial galas are increasing in popularity.
Recently, a unique partnership has been formed with a nationwide fitness center to promote boxing for everyone. Athletes can sign up for a short course under the guidance of a qualified Dutch Boxing Association trainer, who introduces them to the rudiments of boxing. This initiative is positively effecting the increase of members of the Dutch Boxing Association and the flow of new competitive boxers to the boxing schools.
Unique as well is the Parkinson’s project. Together with the medical faculty of the University of Nijmegen, a specific boxing program was developed to train the motor skills of Parkinson’s patients.
As indicated by all above, the Dutch Boxing Association, with its passion for boxing, gives innovation a chance.