The Nanaimo Boxing Club has always promoted safe sparring, and that’s taken on a new meaning in COVID-19 times.

The amateur boxing club on Willgress Road remains shut down during the virus pandemic and members have identified the need for a new floor to help with health and safety measures in a reopening scenario.

The boxing club currently has old carpeting, patched and frayed and difficult to keep as clean as people expect nowadays. Club member Trish Harder started a GoFundMe to try to raise $8,000 for three-quarter-inch rubber mats throughout the 2,000-square-foot space.

“I knew that it needed to be done if we are going to open up safely,” she said. “The biggest advantage is our cleanability. With COVID happening, for boxing gyms to open, we need to be able to clean and disinfect everything between classes.”

She said the club doesn’t know for sure if certain types of flooring will be a requirement for reopening, but said she thinks it would make members feel more comfortable.

The club will meet this week to discuss other measures to work toward a September opening; for example, smaller classes are likely, said Barry Creswell, Nanaimo Boxing Club coach. He said he has the right cleaning products and thinks procedures can be put in place to keep athletes safe with “the discipline of cleaning on a regular basis,” which may require more volunteer help.

The club, like most other sports and recreation groups, shut down in March. Creswell said athletes had been training for competition and it was hard to see them miss out on those opportunities, but “we’ve come to accept it.”

He and Harder said boxing, at first, might mean just exercising, fitness and some instruction about techniques, without any mitt work.

“Which is too bad,” Harder said. “I personally kind of miss hitting people.”

Both she and her coach stressed that reopening the club is about more than punching. It might take new floors, now, to ensure a safe space at a place that makes a difference for youths in the community.

“I have boys and girls that come in there that don’t have friends, and then they do make friends and they get a good crowd of family and friends that they see three times a week,” Creswell said. “They count on that and they like that and some of them are really upset.”

Harder said the boxing club is a safe place to go, hang out with peers who share their interest, get out frustration and learn discipline.

“The kids that I’ve seen come in there … they can transform into brilliant, wonderful warriors,” she said.

To view or donate to the GoFundMe, visit

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