Marketplace: New business Rise Boxing steps into the Park City ring
May 15, 2018
For Maryguenn Vellinga-Hinz, it was love at first punch.
It wasn't long before she was in the ring, quickly rising through the ranks. Now, the professional boxer is opening her own gym, Rise Boxing, that is inviting, but also pushes people to reach their potential.
Vellinga discovered her competitive side at an early age. Growing up in Santaquin, she played sports in high school before finding a passion for rock climbing in college. She enjoyed the personal challenge of scaling mountains and testing her strength, until an accident set her back. While bouldering, she fell and shattered her ankle and, after three surgeries, was never able to climb at the same level.
Then, nine years ago, she stumbled upon boxing. She had just had her first child and planned to box to get in shape. Within a week ,she was looking into a more rigorous program.
"When I tried boxing, it was the hardest thing I had done," she said. "Being as difficult as it is, that appealed to my athletic interests."
Eight months after her first time putting on gloves, she was competing. She quickly progressed in the sport, but it was not without challenge. She bounced between gyms in an attempt to find one that was supportive of female boxing and could push her to achieve her goals.
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"You really had to work hard to prove yourself before anybody gave you the time of day," she said.
Vellinga said that men frequently downplayed the abilities of women and the opportunities of competition for them. Plus, male coaches sometimes had inappropriate interactions with female boxers.
"As a female, I saw and experienced a lot of negative treatment toward women," she said.
She said that she began dreaming about creating her own gym, where "people felt supported right from the beginning," and had different experiences than the ones she had while training.
She became a coach for other boxers over time, then received her personal trainer certification. She started a boxing program at the gym AlpenFit and taught fitness classes, during which individuals use the techniques of boxing to work out but without contact.
When AlpenFit closed last year, Vellinga knew that it was time to build her own gym. She and her husband, Luke Hinz, began the search for a location and eventually found an opening on Rasmussen Road.
She had some setbacks while launching the business, such as finding the location, but she said that she had experience overcoming obstacles throughout her boxing career. To start her business, she is drawing from other lessons learned through boxing, such as "how to set a goal and go for it" and that there are always solutions around road blocks.
When she started boxing, she had to juggle training, working and raising a daughter on her own. She has recently been training for the National Golden Gloves, a prestigious boxing competition that takes place from May 14 to 19, while opening her gym. She is currently ranked No. 3 in the U.S. in the amateur division, and hopes to get to the first spot so she can make it on the Olympic team.
Though classes have been taking place at Rise Boxing, the grand opening is set for May 21. There are classes available for youth, teens and adults and range from fitness classes to competitive boxing.
Vellinga said that she has liked owning her own gym so far, because she is able to convince others how fun and confidence-boosting boxing can be.
"I love sharing what I love," she said. "Having people afterwards tell me how much they enjoyed it, that is like the pat on the back saying it was worth doing it."
She ultimately hopes to train boxers who are better than her, but also to grow the sport, especially for women. She is optimistic that those who attend her fitness classes will become fans and cheer on the women who are changing the sport.
"I kind of want to be an ambassador for the sport," she said.
2720 Rasmussen Rd. Ste A4
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