In a room large enough to hold a basketball court, Ricky Aulie's voice echoes.
"Jab. Jab. Come on."
He's not a loud person by nature, but he is passionate.
Much of his fervor is directed toward the Brainerd Boxing Club. A training group of 24 members, three assistant coaches and Aulie, a former 12-year Golden Gloves veteran himself.
The first-year club started Nov. 4 and practices Monday and Wednesday nights at the Brainerd National Guard Armory.
"He's a first year boxer, but he has that, I-want-to-kick-your-butt attitude," Aulie said about one of his rookies.
Many of the club's members are new to the sport. The ages range from 9 to 29.
Kolt Herron (right) landed a punch on his cousin, Bill Herron, Monday during the Brainerd Boxing Club's practice at the Brainerd National Guard Armory.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
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Others were meant to be around a boxing ring.
"My Papa Herron, Mark Herron, he was boxing when he was littler so now I am," said Bill Herron, who just finished sparing against his cousin, Kolt.
At age 11 this is Bill's first year boxing. In his words he's learned a lot and has had fun doing it.
Braydon Borg is another first-year boxer. The 10-year-old told his mother he wanted to box. She contacted Aulie and was sold on the Brainerd Boxing Club.
Borg enjoys jumping rope, hitting the bag and sparing. He really likes sparing.
"I've been throwing really good punches," said Borg. "I run and do push-ups and stuff. I'm very good at sparring and boxing. I do it almost every day with my brother."
While Aulie directed boxers sparing in the ring, his assistants Brandon Rothwell, Todd Herron and Scott Herron broke down technique and held bags for the other members. Despite Monday's cold weather about 20 of the members worked out in the gym. A ring is constructed in the corner. Two bags hang from basketball hoops on both ends of the gym. The skipping of jump ropes and the sound of boxing gloves hitting bags is the only other sound other than Aulie's voice that can be heard.
"Nate, you've got to punch," Aulie yelled.
Nate is Nate Rubin, a 2007 Brainerd graduate and a boxer of eight years. Rubin and a few other club members will see their first regional action this Saturday in Wadena. Rubin will be in the main event.
The former Warrior wrestler is a self-motivated boxer. Before the club started he was training alone at home. He's glad there's a new program in town, but he's most excited about Jan. 3. That's when Rubin will showcase his talents in front of his home crowd.
The Brainerd Boxing Club will host a boxing card that night at the armory. It's a scheduled 12-bout card with Rubin battling in the main event.
"People you know ask you about boxing, but they never get to see you," said Rubin. "It's kind of nice to be able to show what you've been working toward."
Boxers from Wadena, St. Cloud, Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls are scheduled to appear in what Aulie believes is the first boxing card in Brainerd in five years.
"It's been probably four or five years," said Aulie, a Riverside Elementary kindergarten teacher. "I know the last time I fought in Brainerd I was still in college. That's been four years ago."
Admission will be $7 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. Concessions and Brainerd Boxing Club attire will be available.
Aulie also said that it's not too late to join for this season.
jeremy millsop, sports writer, may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.
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