WILL VERDUER ’18
On Thursday I spoke to Oliver Lykken ’16, who took the initiative to take the loosely-organized smatterings of a boxing club that existed when he was a freshman, and turned it into an organized club with a coach and an off-campus gym that, as of this Halloween, competes on the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA) circuit. Lykken said that he’s been running the club since his sophomore year. The biggest challenges that he had to face while bringing this club to fruition mostly consisted of a lack of public interest, issues around financing, and being the last of the SGA’s priorities. Lykken explained that whenever the boxing club had a conflict with another club or campus group, they were never the ones who got priority. He said that he was able to overcome these challenges by means of his tremendous work ethic and the refusal to back down. He had countless meetings with Assistant Director of Recreation/Intramurals & Club Sports Kathleen Kilcoyne garnered as much interest as possible at every activities fair, sent out hundreds of emails, and tabled in Mather. He also said that he put up numerous flyers which, unfortunately, he later found had been torn down. Lykken described it as a “constant grind,” always talking and promoting untiringly. He emblemizes the tenacity and perseverance it takes to make things happen by means of institutions.
He went on to elucidate that the boxing team partners with the city of Hartford through a non-profit organization called the Charter Oak Boxing Academy (COBA). COBA trains underprivileged inner city kids in boxing at the Olympic level. A coach affiliated with the non-profit, Johnny Callas, reached out to Lykken, and the partnership was born. The boxing club is now not only a solid, legitimate, competitive team, but also another great partnership between Trinity and the city of Hartford. Lykken, now a senior, says that he’s very happy to have such a “solid” team as his legacy. For all the hard work he put into it, I’m sure most would agree that he deserves nothing less. But, as admirable as Lykkens contributions have been to the team, equally impressive is Tim Galvin ’19, who won Trinity’s first ever boxing match, whom I interviewed on that Thursday as well.
Will Verdeur: How did you feel going into the match, were you nervous? What was it like?
Tim Galvin: Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty nerve wracking, getting up there in front of all those people with the chance of you falling down on your face knocked out cold in front of all those people, you know?
You’re nervous but you’re also excited for it too to prove yourself, all the hard work you’ve put into it and to get out there and do your thing. I mean, the feeling in the dressing room before you fight is enough to drive somebody crazy, in your stomach and in your head, and you’re second-guessing yourself, it’s really tough.
Those four steps up into the ring are the longest four steps of your life.
WV: I can imagine. So tell me about what it was like during the fight.
TG: Well, once you’re in the ring and the bell rings and you step in there, the first 10 seconds, you’re kind of feeling each other out, like, how the fight is going to go, what the other person fight is like. To be honest, fresh out I got in there and he lit me up with four or five shots, and kind of woke me up a bit. I was like “alright, this kid can fight, it’s gonna be a tough one,” and the first round consisted of him being the aggressor and me kind of sitting back, throwing a lot of jabs.
But, after the first round ended, you’re gassed. It’s a two-minute round but you feel like you just ran four miles, you’re totally shot. Coach gave me a lot of pointers in between rounds that kind of made me turn the fight around and, coming out of the third round, the final round, I felt good about the way everything went and I was lucky enough to pull off the decision.
WV: So, how do you feel now? I hear you’ve got another one coming up.
TG: It was good to get my first fight out of the way. It was on Halloween. I had a great night that night. It was awesome, I had all my friends calling me after the fight congratulating me, there were a couple of good pictures.
I have another fight Nov. 20 against UMass and UConn, and West Point on November 21st in Winchester, Mass. West Point’s the toughest team in the East division of the NCBA. They’re all tough kids. They do boxing intramurally as well. They have to, so they kind of get the pick of the litter out of every kid in the whole school to be their fighters. I know I’m going to have a tough test then.
WV: Well it sounds exciting, though. I’ll make sure to see it.
TG: Yeah it is exciting, but it’s also tough, getting out there and getting punched in the head and giving blows back. It’s really nerve wracking. The night before my first fight I couldn’t sleep at all, just in the anticipation.
But, it’s a big load off your back after it’s over. Win or lose, the toughest part is just getting in there, you know, as long as you got in there, I mean, it shows a lot for someone to get in there.
WV: Awesome. So did you have any boxing experience from before, or is this, like, you just picked it up recently?
TG: Yeah, I’ve been boxing my whole life. There’s this program in my neighborhood where literally like, five years old and up, they throw you in the ring with another kid your size.
WV: And where is that, exactly?
TG: Dorchester, Mass., inside Boston, it’s a neighborhood of Boston. Anyway, they start you young, and since then I’ve been in and out of the gym, so I had a big boxing back-ground, a lot of my friends box. From the time I was 10 to 14, I was boxing every day, and then I kind of lost sight of it for a little bit.
I got here and I saw they had a club. I thought it’d give me something to do, keep me out of trouble, keep me from going out too many nights a week or whatever. Then, they said they compete on the NCBA circuit which at first was kind of nerve wracking, like, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. But, I got my skills back after the first two weeks, felt like I knew what I was doing, Coach said I looked good. It was good I had previous experience, and that I had a good basic skill-set, and he really helped me out and made me a better boxer really quickly. But the previous boxing experience really helped me a lot.