By Jordan Rinard, Senior Staff Writer
While the snow is still falling in Oxford, the fists are flying in Withrow as the Miami Boxing Club is preparing for the Midwest Regionals at Iowa State March 13-15. I caught up with some of the club members for some insight into the college boxing world.
Sophomore Emily Davisson:
“I started boxing because I knew that if I didn’t work out with other people, I wouldn’t work out. I was not self-motivated enough to do that my freshman year and I was too cheap to pay for a fitness pass at the Rec. Plus, it was something I knew my parents wouldn’t really approve of, so that was a bonus at the time as well.
Competing in the women’s division is different because people don’t assume that girls can fight. I remember at an invitational we went to in Cleveland, everyone saw me with the team and was shocked when we mentioned that I was also competing. It also leads to some difficulties in practice because there are fewer girls, which means I do spar males most of the time in the gym.
Balancing boxing and schoolwork is challenging, but this semester I created a schedule that works and I have people outside of the team who will hold me accountable as well. The hardest part is motivating yourself to go the gym the extra four to five times a week outside of practice in order to ensure that you are in sparring condition. Waking up at 7:30 to go to the Rec when it’s freezing isn’t my ideal morning, but it’s better than getting your butt handed to you in the ring because you’re not as in-shape as the next guy.
Coach Eric Buller:
“I retired from a 20-plus-year career in the United States Army as an officer and was teaching Army ROTC at East Carolina University. I was hired to lead the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute here at Miami and since I had boxing experience as an athlete and coach, I assisted the coach at the time, Mike Argadine, who was a Miami grad and doing a great job coaching the club, while also working in Cincinnati. After the first year, he asked me to take over the club as he was getting married and it was increasingly hard to continue coaching the club. It must be noted that he and others did a phenomenal job coaching the club and it is a good example of a Miami graduate giving back to something he enjoyed while a student here.
I learned to box while a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point and was a Brigade Champion at 132 pounds. When I went back to West Point to teach while still in the Army, I became an assistant coach for the West Point Boxing Club. In my last year coaching there, we won West Point›s first ever Collegiate Boxing Championship.
I am taking what I learned as both an athlete and coach at West Point and bringing it here at Miami as we develop elite collegiate boxers. Last year, we had two Regional Champions, four national qualifiers and two National All-Americans.
I love the sport of college boxing because it is a leadership and personal development activity like no other. It develops persistence and courage in our athletes, while also providing the foundation for a healthy physical life style. Each athlete trains with their teammates and alone. The team concept allows them to push each other, challenge each and lead each other, while the individual nature of a boxing match forces each athlete to look deep within for the heart, courage and dedication to physically and mentally challenge another athlete one-on-one. When a boxer enters the ring and competes for the first time, they exit a different person: more confident, more self-aware, more prepared to take on difficult challenges in life and more prepared to lead others through difficult times. I often say “You don’t play boxing” so it takes a constant vigilance and dedication to prepare and compete successfully.
My commitment to college boxing is such that, in addition to coaching here at Miami, I also serve as the vice president of the National Collegiate Boxing Association, the governing body for collegiate boxing under USA Boxing. I, like all other college boxing coaches and officials, are volunteers. We do this work to develop leaders and elite athletes at colleges across the country.
My goal for Miami boxing is to compete successfully at the Regional and National levels and represent what it means to be a Miami RedHawk. But, I also want Miami boxing to be a home for any student that wants to learn the sport and experience it in a personalized way. We have three levels of participation, recreational, sparring and competitive, so there is a space for any student that wants to be involved. I also want the Miami Boxing Club to be a space for the development of leadership and character and its members to find success as student-athletes and continue their personal development as professionals in the career of their choice.”