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October 2017
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Knock-out the stress

There they stood. One against one. The heavy lights focused on them. All you could hear was applauding and cheering. People surrounded the square box in the middle of the room which was encircled by two layers of ropes. There was no way getting out now. Sweat dripped down the forehead, while the heart keeps racing, and adrenaline floods the veins. All they’ve got to do is focus, control their breathing, and stand there with confidence. Tonight is the night. It’s fight night. In front of me stood Rotterdam boxing champion Aad Jansen against the former Rotterdam champion Roy Vielvoye. The fight is going down at the Van het Hof boxing gym in Rotterdam. The rush that flows through the blood of the fighters even made me slightly jealous.
Boxing is my passion. It has changed me as a person; and only in positive aspects. Everything I learn in the ring, from my coaches and fellow companions, I take back with me in everyday life. Boxing gives me the capability to walk down the street, with my head held high, with confidence. Boxing has taught me to be in control of chaotic situations and to relieve myself in stressful times. The magnificent sport it is and always has been teaches a lot more than just knocking your opponent out. The point that I am trying to make is the positive aspects still outweigh the negative elements when training with experts. There are a vast number of claims throughout academic journals and newspaper articles stating the dangers and pessimistic aspects of boxing, and I would like to contradict these statements, and prove to you why boxing is an excellent activity.
To start off with the negative claims, according to the academic journal of the American academy of pediatrics, researchers state that boxing is an inappropriate sport for young athletes and the academics would like to make an end to the sport. The authors mention how boxing leads to a high risk of brain damage and other injuries. The British, Canadian and Australian medical associations were all in agreement. To understand how students felt towards boxing in relation to medical and health conditions, I asked 10 people around the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Overall, they were cautious of the effects boxing has on health. For example, one interviewee mentioned that “fighting for a long period of time can lead to slurred speech or other syndromes.” Another student from the Erasmus medical school stated there “being more negative aspects than positives. For sure, you might get stamina and muscle, but continuous punches to the head will cause extreme damage.” Only 3 out of the 10 students questioned had positive aspects to mention.
After the match, I had a short talk with the founder of boxing gym Van het Hof in Rotterdam. Hans senior mentioned that ‘People perceive boxing as dangerous. Here you get trained by experts who teach you proper techniques. When two amateur boxers spar, we always make sure they spar at the same level for safety precautions.’ In the British medical journal, a series of 6,057 sport injuries were analyzed, where boxing was held responsible for only 1,65% of accidents that occurred. Skiing was a sport that was held responsible for over 29,4% and football for over 21,8%.
There are 5 important reasons why boxing is a positive enduring sport for people. First of all, boxing is relives stress. Boxing reduces stress due to the intense physical activity one deals with. Once you put the gloves on your fists, whatever problems and burdens you go through outside the ring are left behind and are expressed in a different manner. Research carried out at Nottingham Trent University found that boxing, or any physical activity for that matter, releases a chemical named Phenyl ethylamine which boosts ones state of mind.
Secondly, boxing will help teach you to get a grip over embarrassment. Boxing can be seen as a shameful activity, especially if it’s the first time you are throwing the punch. It takes bravery and courage to stand in front of your opponent. Marian Grunden, a student at the Erasmus University, just started boxing at the gym. He states “that it was hard in the beginning. There are guys all around you that are much better and stronger than you, but once you get the hang of it, it is a great stress relief and condition training.”
            Thirdly, boxing develops the self-image. When sparring, the activity gets you to reflect on your strength and weaknesses. Each time you step back into the gym, you will have gain confidence, and you take this confidence with you into everyday situations; whether in the office or with your family at home.
Furthermore, the physical activity boosts you mentally. According to sport scientists from the United States Olympic Committee, boxing is one of the toughest sports out there and requires the maximum amount of output for any athlete who competes in it. A rating took place with 60 sports of all kinds. The criteria dealt with endurance, strength, power, speed and hand-eye coordination, and resulted in boxing ranking a 72 out of 100; being the most challenging sport out there. It takes more than just a physical strength and fitness, you must be able to mentally cope with it and literally fight to the finish.
Lastly, boxing allows you to become a better athlete. Questioning Aad Jansen after he won the boxing match, the boxer indicates that he “has never felt so good than right after a match. I stand here with confidence; a proud winner. It is all about discipline in that ring and having control over your mind. I feel top-fit.”
All in all, I think it’s time you get your boxing gloves on and head down to your gym. Listen to what the experts have to say, and learn from them step by step. It will change you as a person and build you into someone stronger; mentally and physically.




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