Vintage Boxing spares no effort to improve the city’s boxing scene.
Jim, based out of Scott’s Addition, prepares for the final round of a new sparring tournament, The River City Invitational. His third-round event, which kicked off in June, aims to establish Richmond as his hub for serious boxing and to prove that boxing operations can operate properly.
Contests serve as the backbone for boxers looking to turn pro, as they enable the wins they need to climb the ranks. But boxers waste traveling for out-of-state competitions that don’t take place on weekends, limiting their career progress, according to founder Eric Ash.
“When you show up for a fight, your opponent doesn’t show up,” he said. “I wanted to take it into our hands, where we play all our matches and that way we kind of have control.”
Tournaments also have the added benefit of attracting both professional and amateur fighters and promoting a vintage image.
About ten years ago, the business started with Ash posting on Facebook, offering old-school boxing sessions to anyone interested.
He was a professional boxer himself, but after getting married he left the sport and became an entrepreneur in the used car industry. However, a later divorce and a chance encounter with a college coach made him consider the possibility of returning to his roots.
“In the meantime, he was like, ‘Man, you gotta go back,'” Ashe recalled a conversation with an old coach. “You have to help society.”
His Facebook post since then got 30 responses, and the attendance grew from there. As such, Ash was inspired to keep moving his training location, moving from the gym in Mechanicsville to a garage near work.
A few years later, the business had grown to 100 members and Ash moved to 1202 N. Arthur Ash Blvd. The gym was officially commercialized around 2018 and operated for profit.
Since taking over the front of the building, Vintage has acquired two back rooms at the location, using the space to increase the amenities offered to members.
The Invitational’s first tournament took place at Richmond Raceway on June 11th, with an audience of approximately 500 people from across the state. A second round followed his July, attended by 700 people. The final round will take place on August 20th.
Regular advance ticket prices are $20, children are $10, and VIP A ringside table tickets are $35.
Proceeds from the tournament will go to Matthew-Smiles, a suicide prevention organization founded by families whose teenage children died by suicide. As members of Vintage Boxing, the family shared their stories with Ash and came up with fundraising ideas.
“I have a 13-year-old daughter, so it’s really pulled some strings for me,” he said.
The June and July rounds have already raised $3,400 of their $5,000 goal, and Ash believes they can reach that goal.
In his view, it’s the community that shapes the gym’s fundamental purpose of helping people that drives Vintage’s success. We provide you with the space you can.
“You become like a counselor helping people throughout the day,” Ash said. “They need this place, and it feels great.”
Expanding on that theme, Vintage Boxing may soon be rebranded to Vintage Richmond. The name change will help broaden the gym’s focus beyond boxing and grow into a member wellness center.
In addition to the boxing rink, the gym also has a recovery room offering rehabilitation services such as cryotherapy chambers and an infrared sauna.
Jim recently acquired a medical-grade hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Ash said. This is a technique that exposes a person to a pure oxygen environment for health benefits and healing.
To make room for such services, Vintage is in the process of leasing another location near Scott’s Additions area. Post-acquisition, Space will focus on providing rehab for businesses.
When you’re ready, Ash said The Recovery Room will offer IV therapy, supplements, and injury stretching sessions.
Boxing gyms often use government subsidies to teach at-risk youth to the activity. Because it’s for profit, Ash says Vintage doesn’t receive grants, but its dues allow it to work with people who are serious about the sport or want to do it later in life. can.
“I know how hard it is for people walking to the door,” Ash said. “I want to give a round of applause to everyone who comes here.”
From clothing to boxing gear, you can also earn money from the products Vintage offers. Jim sells nearly 300 of his T-shirts a month, Ash says.
Participating fighters are required to wear safety apparel such as hand wraps and headgear, so Vintage is ready to sell its own customized gear. Ash is an opportunity many boxing gyms ignore. I think so.
Vintage currently has eight coaches on staff, some of which are part of a 15-person workforce that includes front desk employees, social media and marketing staff, and general managers.
Ash said the gym has about 400 members. According to its website, membership costs $165 per month for both adults and youth, with a registration fee of $35. Another one of his programs is “Introduction to Boxing” for $140 a month.
As the name suggests, vintage boxing focuses on the old-fashioned form of the sport. In Ash’s view, new practices that have emerged are more focused on making boxing look cool rather than allowing fighters to discover their own style over time.
There are only a few traditional boxing gyms in Richmond, Ash said, citing nonprofits like the Powell Police Athletic League. On the other side is the Title Boxing Club. This club is a franchise that offers a non-contact version of the sport of cardio.
Vintage actively cooperates with professional boxers. One of his members Ash trained was Giuseppe He Cusmano, a boxer who joined Showtime’s program featuring Jake Paul and other notable fighters.
Today’s focus is on 20-year-old Josiyah Giles, just one race away from turning pro. He has been training with Ash since he was 15 and is a regular at the River City Invitational. When he’s not training, he works as a coach at Vintage.
“He’s going to be world champion,” Ashe said confidently.
The River City Invitational concludes this Saturday with its final round, but this tournament has persuaded Ash to continue holding events like this, albeit not monthly. He predicts the next he could follow in early November, March.