THE CLUB'S HISTORY
Having been founded in 1934, the club competed on a broad stage and enjoyed a high success rate in amateur competition fighting out of an exclusive gym located on George Street. The club’s popularity led to its first UQ Blue award in 1936, a highly prestigious and competitive award which it won numerous times after. The club hosted from its own gym fixtures and a large part of its success was due to exclusive use and unrestricted access. The loss of George Street led to decreasing membership numbers and the demise of the Club during the 1970s.
In 1989, UQ Boxing was resurrected by the dedication of UQ students led by John Previte, Lou Scarpato, Murray Patterson and Michael Leigh. UQ Boxing acquired numerous coaches and membership numbers rose. The most notable and influential figure in this new era was Tom Guivarra who was appointed in 1993, and served as head coach for 11 years alongside Tommy Gibbs. In 1998, the Club returned to competitive fighting with Kristian Guivarra (Tom’s son), who went on to win the State Novice Titles and Fighter of the Tournament. Kristian has since epitomised the focus on technique and skill as the foundations for the club’s training. In 2001, George Styles replaced Tommy Gibbs with a focus to fitness which produced three Australian University Champions in Neville Lee See (middleweight & a former club president), Brad Reilly (Light Heavyweight) and Michael Raine (Heavyweight).
Tom regrettably passed away in 2004, and was succeeded as Head Coach by Richard Ford and Jeff Roots. The club is currently coached by Alex Tran, with aide from the experienced members of Jeff Roots, Kristian Guivarra and the club’s executive committee. Alex’s training aligns closer to the Cuban style with a heavy focus on rhythm and body flow than a more traditionalist boxing approach. Alex successfully caters to the various goals of different members by teaching correct technique to aspiring fighters as well as varying and unusual cardio and strength exercises for those who train to improve their fitness.
With a more stable membership base, the club through lapses in executive committee obligations started to experience financial distress, which was fixed by then President Matthew Pringle (2012), whereby more thorough financial management allowed for the repayment of debt and eventual purchasing of much needed equipment. It also heralded a return from a decade’s long absence into the competitive realm of amateur boxing. The club’s role in competition was further expanded under the presidency of Joshua Spilsbury and coaching of Alex Tran, who initiated a Varsity Club Clash competition with QUT Boxing Club in 2017, with the inaugural victory given to UQ Boxing Club.
Since then UQ Boxing has been jumping into the digital space with online membership forms, accepting card payments and expanding our social media presence. This has helped UQ Boxing weather the storm of COVID-19, reaching out and expanding into a member base focused around retention through a high-quality program. This has resulted in the hiring of Joshua as an assistant coach, moving Sunday sessions to the afternoon and providing regular and easily accessible updates regarding COVID-19 health directives. Under the presidency of Matthew Varghese in collaboration with Treasurer Ainsley Nand, the Club has come out of the pandemic stronger than ever with more sparrers than pre-COVID times, many keen to compete in 2022 and onwards. Finally, our series of interactive workshops denoted the Sweet Science Night Series initiated and driven by Ainsley, features many of our regular members talking on their favourite fights and fighters, and how best to train has already run six times since December 2019. Thankfully, many of our regular social events are up and running again and have not been lost to the chaos of COVID-19, and Ainsley is actively pushing to expand our reach beyond our regular members to initiate new programs for first-timers and beginners to join UQ Boxing in 2022.
Get involved in UQ Boxing today to see what we're about and maybe one day you'll be a key part of our Club's history!