If you haven’t heard of White Collar Boxing, get ready.
Already a phenomenon in Europe and Asia, WCB has arrived in California on a wave of popularity that is just getting started. And tonight, South Coast Martial Arts in Costa Mesa will hold it’s White Collar Boxing Summer Spectacular with all proceeds going to benefit the Walking Tall Foundation which provides a scholarship program, competition and camps for at-risk youth in the community.
Corona del Mar resident Jan Green will be among the local boxers, celebrities and professional athletes who will be taking to the ring for the charity.
Green, who owns two businesses in Costa Mesa, grew up an accomplished athlete in New York, playing basketball throughout school. Later, as an escort and security detail for American diplomats he became proficient in kickboxing, and always admired the discipline and finesse boxers who shared the ring with him displayed. He toyed with boxing but it didn’t become a true passion until years later.
He got the “itch,” as he calls it, nearly three years ago after recovering from a badly broken ankle. Through long hours of physical therapy, pain and frustration, he vowed that when he recovered well enough to walk he would return to the ring and work to achieve the great physical shape he had known before. He recovered, and he went to the mats.
Since that time, Green has become an active member of the Old Dog Boxing program at South Coast Martial Arts/Boxing Center, which is made up of mostly “white collar” men (and some women) ages 35 and up. He is among a growing group of amateur athletes who are affluent, educated, social, fit and who just plain love everything the sport of boxing has to offer.
“Boxing can be very Zen-like,” he says. “Similar to jazz music, boxing allows for a certain amount of personal improvisation within its structure. When you hit your stride and rhythm in the ring, there’s nothing quite like it.”
“Whether you’re a world champ or a young kid just learning, the same powerful release, raw emotion and training is involved,” added Green.
When I asked him about getting in the ring to raise funds for the Walking Tall Foundation, he didn’t hesitate.
“It’s a very family-like environment we all share at South Coast (Martial Arts) and I feel strongly about the importance of helping to give kids in the Walking Tall program that sense of hope and strength,” he said. “At the gym we are able to provide them with the discipline and goals they don’t get anywhere else in their lives.”
Tonight’s event will be one of the first major WCB events in the US, and will feature approximately 12 fights of 3 rounds, with each round running 1 ½ minutes. Celebrity fighters are expected to be included in tonight’s event, with actor Mario Lopez listed among some champion boxers and professional athletes scheduled.
Adding to the mix, there will be a few bouts by “the ladies of boxing.”
Doors open a 6 p.m. and the first round will begin at 7:30. Tickets are available at the door, with VIP ringside seats priced at $40, general admission $20, and kids are free. Food and beverages will be available. South Coast Martial Arts is at 2990 Grace Lane in Costa Mesa. For more information call 714-545-5759 or log on to www.southcoastmartialarts.com.
Lynn Selich is a freelance editor, writer and public relations consultant residing in Newport Beach. She can be reached at [email protected].