This time of the year, one of the more popular New Year’s resolutions people try to implement in their lives is to become more physically fit and exercise more. Others may try to pick up a new skill or hobby.
Now, residents of Radcliff and the surrounding area have a new option that can satisfy both resolutions.
The Sparrow Boxing Club in Radcliff opened Dec. 5 and is at 569 Knox Boulevard. The club is set to hold its grand opening this Saturday. Owner Kelvin Sparrow said one of the club’s main goals is to introduce people, especially those on the younger side, to the sport of boxing and help the sport grow in the community.
“Just to get the kids more of an opportunity and outlet just to become more familiar with a new sport,” Sparrow said. “Also a different sport, which requires a lot of discipline, preparation, dedication.”
The club is not strictly for children, with classes available for adults looking to pick up the sport as well. Children’s classes start from 5 and up, while adult classes range from ages 20 to 60. Classes focus on the fundamentals of boxing, with the majority of the members not being on the competitive side, at least initially.
“They’re in there just working out,” Sparrow said. “Of course, a lot of them aren’t going to compete, but at the same time, they just want to get that feel of a workout of what a boxer does and how they go about their daily routine.”
In addition to classes, private lessons also are available for those would prefer not to be in a larger group. Other training options are designed for boxers who potentially want to compete at some point.
The facility itself is 4,000-square feet and consists of 15 to 20 workout bags.
“There’s plenty of space for multiple individuals to come and train,” Sparrow said. “We’re just a high-driven sports gym that’s looking to bring a new wave of energy to Radcliff and all of the area.”
Sparrow and his family have lived in the area for three years. His wife is active-duty military, while Sparrow also works for Hardin County Water on Fort Knox. Sparrow has spent much of his time in the area working to implement boxing training camps on post. This came to fruition last July when Sparrow got to start a non-contact boxing training program that still is active.
At the same time, Sparrow also had hoped to open a boxing gym off-post over the last few years to locally grow the sport on the competitive side.
“That’s more so what we’re driven by, to compete. To travel over the country and compete,” Sparrow said. “The last couple of years we’ve been driven to open up a gym and the opportunity came,”
Sparrow has been affiliated with the sport of boxing for the last 20 years.
His son has continued the family tradition and has seen a large amount of success at the national youth level. What initially started out as a way for Sparrow to teach his son self-defense when he was 10, has expanded to where his son is ranked seventh nationally in his age and weight class three years later.
“We got a big story behind us,” Sparrow said. “We’re a very respectful family. My son, at 12, he’s got 50 fights, that’s in the ring. He’s never been in a fight outside of the boxing ring because if you ever get in a fight outside of the ring, we’re done with boxing because that’s not what we fight for.”
Sparrow explained part of the reason he wanted to open the gym was to provide an outlet for prospective young boxers to have a place to grow their craft.
“I grew up and didn’t have the opportunity that I’m giving to a lot of these young guys,” Sparrow said. “I had to take a tougher road to do it, not on a regulated scale, pretty much on an out-of-market scale and I just had to fight coming up. I just wish I had this opportunity when I was younger.”
Saturday’s grand-opening event features a ribbon-cutting ceremony and boxers from clubs in Indiana, Louisville and Campbellsville will put on sparring demonstrations.
“It’s gonna be a little sparring just to show for the bystanders, the parents, what can be potentially done if one of their kids wants to compete,” Sparrow said. “Just to give them the ramifications of how everything goes, how the fighters prepare.”
The event will feature raffles and giveaways, as well as food and music. Additionally, the whole staff will be in attendance to answer questions and provide information. It runs from 2-5 p.m.
Even ahead of the grand opening, Sparrow said the response and interest the club has generated since its soft opening last month has been a strong indicator of how the club could grow moving forward.
This has ranged from the growing number of likes and messages on the club’s Facebook page, to words of encouragement from a sergeant major at Fort Knox, who helped Sparrow start a training camp on post.
“We’ve gotten a very warm reception,” Sparrow said. “And this is just the start of it.”