Gloves on

“It’s one-on-one training, every time,” says Joe Mallory, who, even as he’s being interviewed, barks out instructions:

“Throw it harder,” he yells to two young men working with “the medicine ball,” a training device that comes in three weights: 12, 15, or 25 pounds. “Do push-ups!” he directs another duo.

In October, the 30-year-old Mallory, who renovates houses for a living, opened the area’s first boxing ring. Dubbed Mallory’s Boxing Club, it is housed in a former auto accessories store on Preston Avenue.

Just getting the club open was a workout of sorts. For nearly two years, as a construction foreman for “The Terraces,” a long-delayed transformation of the former Woolworth’s building, Mallory eyed the basement. However, a sudden and unexpected rent increase caused him to look elsewhere.

With its overhead garage doors, cement floor, roped ring, and six punching bags hanging from the high ceiling, the Club possesses an appropriate grit for this sport known for attracting angry young men.

However, Mallory laughs, “here there are more girls than guys.” He attributes this phenomenon partly to the fact that boxing is “an individual sport.”

“It’s great upper body training,” says Diana Branscome, a legal analyst for LexisNexis, who was the first woman to sign up for boxing with Mallory. “I do guy push-ups now,” she boasts.

For those who’d prefer not to take a left upper hook to the jaw, Mallory says to relax. “It’s a cardio workout,” he explains; “you don’t have to compete.”

Despite his easy smile and “aw shucks” manner, Mallory knows plenty about competition. He was an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic boxing team.

The discipline and direction that took him to Barcelona, however, took time. At 12, Mallory says he developed a propensity for street fighting. In response, his father began driving him to D.C. about three nights a week to learn the sport of boxing. 

The experience worked for Mallory, who now hopes to return the favor by helping local at-risk youth. He opens the Club from 5:30pm-9ish Monday to Friday, and from 10am-2pm on Saturday, and welcomes kids of all ages to come in for training. “It gets them off the streets,” he explains. 

Things at the Club are going so well that Mallory plans to expand by moving into the National Linen Building at the corner of East Market Street and Meade Avenue in May. Approximately twice the size of the Preston Avenue club, the new venue will offer something else vital to any good cardio workout: showers.


Read more on: boxing