Place yourself at the corner of NE 7th and NE Broadway. What businesses do you remember seeing there? A few weeks ago, I would have said, “A mattress store, a few bars, restaurants, and the Les Schwab tire dealership.”
No one would have any idea that two-time boxing world champion, Molly McConnell, teaches people how to box above that futon store. Look up while passing by and you could see the words BOXING and GET FIT are painted on the windows of the second floor. However, just by sight, you couldn’t have known that McConnell’s Boxing Gym houses such talent, expertise, and strong community.
McConnell’s Boxing Academy is unique for several reasons. McConnell’s Boxing Academy is the only boxing gym in Portland owned and operated by women! Molly McConnell and her wife opened the boxing academy in 2012. Since then, they have hired skilled teachers and built a tight-knit community that revolves around practicing the science and technique of boxing.
McConnell’s Boxing Academy is set apart from other boxing gyms because of the level of expertise that Molly McConnell brings to the table. Molly “Fearless” McConnell is the only female boxing world champion ever from the state of Oregon. She probably would have gone to the Olympics for boxing, if they had allowed women to compete when McConnell was at her boxing prime. Boxing has been an Olympic sport (for men) since 1904. It wasn’t until 2012 that women were allowed access to this athletic challenge as well.
McConnell competed in professional boxing for a whopping 16 years and retired when she was 40. Throughout those 16 years of experience, she trained at a plethora of boxing gyms. She observed what works and what doesn’t work at a gym. McConnell observed that the unstructured nature of most boxing gyms is detrimental to the growth of boxers-in-training. When she opened up her own gym in 2012, she created a structured curriculum that resembles the structure of other martial organizing a box-a-thon fundraiser on April 8th for the ACLU. Participants in the box-a-thon will do as many rounds on the bag as they can in three hours. People who want to support the box-a-thon and the ACLU can pledge a flat fee or pledge per round. If you are interested in pledging, please call the gym, (971) 266-1151, or email them at email@example.com. As McConnell emphasized, “People won’t pay the gym. One of our members is setting up a specific account so that 100% of the proceeds go directly into that separate account and directly to the ACLU.”
If you are interested in becoming a part of the strong fitness community housed by McConnell’s Boxing Academy, consider taking advantage of the free introductory class that they offer. McConnell recommends that beginners try the cardio boxing class first and proceed to other technical classes afterwards.
McConnell describes the environment this way, “Boxing can seem like an intimidating thing to do if you’ve never done it before. We take all levels. Everything is tailored towards the individual. You can go at your own pace. The classes have a really great mix of levels: people on the Boxing Team who are very skilled next to complete beginners. There’s always someone that can help you if you have questions.”
The next time you’re at NE 7th and NE Broadway, look up to the second floor! Consider checking out the boxing gym gem that is located right in our neighborhood.
For more information:
McConnell’s Boxing Academy
707 NE Broadway, Suite 201
By Anna Daggett