hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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July 4, 2013

New boxing club has right priorities

If you don’t think boxing offers a great workout, try it sometime.

You don’t even have to get into the ring.

Rounds of three minutes or more punching heavy bags to learn power and combinations, speed bags to learn quickness and coordination, and skipping rope for endurance will be enough to impress you.

Throw in some “road work’’ — running a couple of miles or more after the gym work — and you wind up with a challenge that can turn you into a well-rounded athlete.

But there are spin-off benefits that many people unfamiliar with boxing do not consider.

There is the mental part, the focus that a person training to that degree gains. There is also the emotional part, which says any boxer who is trained properly understands his or her priorities. Their skills are for self defense or competition and, for young people, responsibilities like school work come before training.

It’s reassuring to hear Ray Hebert acknowledge those principals as his new Downtown Haverhill Boxing Club opens and seeks new members. (See story, Page 1.)

Hebert and other trainers at the club are seeing female members and other adults walk through the doors looking for a good workout and perhaps even a future in the ring. They are also seeing teenagers and younger children come in.

Hebert says he welcomes them all, but makes one thing clear to the kids.

“If their school grades slip, they can’t box until they bring them back up,” he told reporter Mike LaBella.

Hebert also stressed the club’s goal has less to do with young members gaining boxing skills and more to do with them spending time off the streets and in a positive environment.

“This is for kids who don’t have anywhere to go,” he said.

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