What does a 62-year-old Charleston attorney, a 46-year-old spa owner, a 28-year-old TV reporter and a Porter-Gaud senior have in common?
They are among a growing number of people who are embracing boxing for fitness and changing the face of the sport.
More than a year ago, long-time local boxer and boxing coach Michael Golemis partnered with Serenity Now Yoga studio owner Noele Pace to start Hurricane Boxing, a boxing gym - complete with a ring - on James Island.
Now they have a clientele of about 200 from all walks of life and ages, both male and female, not just young men with aspirations of competing.
Among the clients is attorney David Pearlman. He found out about the gym from Pace, who he knew from doing yoga. Pearlman describes boxing workouts as fun, all-encompassing, and both exhilarating and exhausting.
"When you are done, you are spent," says Pearlman.
Like Pace, local TV reporter and weekend anchor Haley Hernandez started doing boxing workouts with Golemis in the garage of his James Island house for two years before he opened the gym.
Hernandez got interested in boxing 13 years ago, when she was 15, but didn't start regular boxing workouts until she lived in New York City, where boxing workouts are as common as indoor cycling or yoga classes.
In fact, a growing trend in cities such as New York and London is "white collar boxing," in which professionals in jobs such as finance tap the powers of boxing for working out.
When Hernandez moved to Charleston, she couldn't find a gym that focused primarily on boxing, not martial arts, and eventually found Golemis. She now is a trainer at Hurricane Boxing, in additional to her day job at WCBD.
Like many, Hernandez says boxing offers her stress relief beyond the high intensity workout.
"Being a journalist, some people don't understand how stressful it can be. At the end of the day, it just helps to be able to punch something," she says.
While the Charleston area has MMA studios and 9 Round franchises offering similar workouts, Hernandez says Golemis brings a special expertise and touch to the home-grown gym, which is housed in a former heating and air conditioning warehouse.
Golemis, who is 60 but looks 40, is a veteran Golden Gloves-award-winning boxer with an amateur boxing record of 165 wins and 12 defeats. He is certified as a boxing trainer from the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
He was a volunteer boxing coach at The Citadel, receiving a stipend at the end of the season, until the two parted ways after he asked for a modest salary and was declined.
Despite his experience training competitive boxers, he says the emphasis at Hurricane Boxing is on wellness and fitness "lifestyle." While about a half dozen members are training to box on an amateur level, the overwhelming number are people who want a good workout.
"The boxer workout arguably is one of the most challenging and beneficial workouts in existence," says Golemis, noting that it taps into cardiovascular, core strength, speed, agility and stamina.
Pace described Golemis as a "great coach" who sets the tone for the gym.
"I think that's what distinguishes Hurricane Boxing," says Pace. "Whether you want to fight or not, you get the same training."
Reach David Quick at 937-5516.
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