The Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club aims to spread positivity and togetherness in Toronto’s east end, says boxing coach and owner Savoy Howe.
At the club on Carlaw Avenue, south of Gerrard Street East, Howe works with a lot of survivors who have experienced violence.
She said the gym is a safe and fun space provided for mostly women and the LGBTQ community. It’s about teaching women how strong they really are. Males are able to come to the gym three times a week.
“Usually people are pretty surprised they could throw a punch that hard. It comes down to proper technique,” said Howe, 52.
On a daily basis, Howe runs classes on evenings and weekends for two hours. Howe said the gym is set up as a playground for hitting things. “It’s a perfect combination of relieving stress,” Howe said.
“We have heavy bags, speed bags, double end-balls, upper cut bags and hand pads.” She said she realized she had a love for boxing in 1992 when she saw an image of a woman wearing boxing gloves in the newspaper. “I was, like, whatever that is I want it.”
“Once I started hitting the heavy bag I was hooked on boxing,” she said.
She started the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club in 1996. She put up flyers for women to join. The club became official in 2006.
Nurse practitioner Michelle Trinh, 35, started boxing at the age of 30. It was one of her goals. “I found that I opened up a bit more at the boxing gym,” Trihn said. “It gives me a lot of confidence and abilities to do other other things. Mentally, boxing gives me something to do outside of work. I feel like I’m apart of a community.”
Trihn said people know her by her boxing name, Pinky. She recalls not being able to do certain things, like chin-ups, a few years ago. Now she is a pro at it. “We all start somewhere. The art of boxing is to never give up.” she said.
A flash mob is set to take place on Dec. 21 at Yonge-Dundas to raise awareness. It’ll be a theatre piece of boxing and choreographed routines.
“We’re trying to create events where we can get people talking about the hate thats been propagated in the news,” Howe said. “People are feeling unsafe, including the trans and Muslim community.”