Imane Bounana ’20, is an African studies and French studies double major and writing, rhetoric, & media studies minor from Morocco. The Trinity Boxing Club plays a valuable role in Imane’s athletic life as she is the first female boxer to represent Trinity.
The Trinity Boxing Club has had a strong partnership for several years with Charter Oak Boxing Academy (COBA) located at 81 Pope Park Hwy, Hartford. The team’s head coach is Johnny Callas, a twenty-year world championship professional boxing referee, and a former NCBA champion, and is in charge of the 11 boxers at COBA, of which five are women. COBA’s style is dynamic due to the program’s ability to provide multiple coaches who offer different insights and help in addition to the skills of Coach Callas. For example, retired American world champion professional boxer Marlon Starling, former USBA & NABF lightweight champion Israel Pito Cardona, and “Iceman” John Scully, a formerly world-ranked professional light heavyweight. Having no previous boxing experience before attending Trinity, Imane decided to join the Trinity Boxing Club this past semester at the suggestion of one of her current teammates.
Below, she reflects on her passion for the sport, and on her experiences boxing for Trin:
My first official match was at Penn State University, and it was a very special experience. Not only was it my first collegiate boxing experience but I was also the very first female boxer to represent Trinity. I felt honored and very excited to be at the match because being there meant contributing to something bigger than myself. I was matched up with a female boxer from Penn State University, so there was definitely a lot of pressure. Because official competition is very different from sparring, I’d say that my biggest challenge for my first match was to stay composed while taking it all in. Though I did not emerge victorious in that bout, I had a wonderful first-time experience. I will always remember the first time I got inside the ring. It was a different type of excitement and a complete adrenaline rush!
I did win my very first bout in my second match at Lock Haven University! I am so grateful that Trinity and Charter Oak Boxing Academy gave me the opportunity to be there in the first place. I trained tirelessly to make that win a possibility after only a few months of boxing. I know I couldn’t have accomplished the task without the support of my team. I am very grateful to coach Johnny Callas and coach Robert Ford from the UHart program for believing in my potential. They have been of tremendous help throughout my training process, and I look forward to continuing to work with them. I would also not have been able to do this without my teammates, peers from Trinity and UHart, or the kids from COBA. I love working with everyone, and it’s always a highlight of my day going to the gym and seeing all of them and learning from them.
At Charter Oak Boxing Academy, I am constantly reminded that even though I will experience fear, I should still do what scares me. I’d say that is my biggest take away from boxing so far. As for my biggest asset, I’d say it’s my tenacity both inside and outside of the ring. I genuinely believe that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I like a challenge and boxing gives me just that. Because boxing is not just about physical strength, but mental toughness as well, there is always something more to work on. I am nowhere close to where I want to be, but every day I keep getting better. I keep learning new things, and my goal is to compete in the national championships. For now, I am just going to keep working on how I can become a better boxer.
Looking forward, the Penn State and Lock Haven competitions made me very excited for Trinity’s home show on March 2nd. The team is going big this year, and we are ecstatic! We are going to have female national champions Sierra Martinez v.s. Sumayyah Chisholm featured in the show. We’re also going to have student boxers from Trinity College, University of Hartford, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts, and hopefully other colleges as well. We would love for the Trinity community to come out and support.
If you are interested in learning more or joining the Trinity Boxing Club, reach out to boxing club president and fellow Bant, Joseph Orosco at email@example.com. The official practice times for this semester are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7 p.m. and Sundays from 12- 2 p.m., at the Charter Oak Boxing Academy. The club meets up at Vernon Social at the top of the hour and departs for the academy as a group. The Trinity College & COBA Boxing Classic will be held on Saturday, March 2 in the Learning Corrider Gym, 15 Vernon Street, Hartford. Doors open at 2 p.m. and first bell is at 3 p.m.
Also, be sure to throw a “like” at COBA’s Facebook and Instagram!