Marketplace: Park City Boxing Club gets a new home
January 28, 2018
Shane Heaps has always loved the feeling of stepping into a ring, full of adrenaline and excitement for the boxing match ahead. But now, the former Olympian is finding joy in teaching others to fall in love with the sport.
Heaps, who represented the country of Tonga in the 1996 Olympics, recently moved his boxing program to the Silver Mountain Sports Club and Spa and named it Park City Boxing Club.
The retired professional boxer from Utah has been teaching the sport for several years. In Park City, he was most recently teaching out of a space he shared with the gym AlpenFit. When the business left last year, he spent some time in Fiji training boxers before deciding to return.
"Everybody wanted to get back into it," he said. "And I had to start from scratch."
One of his students, Bart Bodell, reached out to help Heaps find a space and the equipment because he was ready to get back in the ring. Heaps and his classes bounced around gyms for a few weeks until they grew sick of getting kicked out of rooms. When they heard that Silver Mountain had an open room, they jumped on the opportunity to have their own space.
Bodell said that the move has proven to be successful so far, especially since people working out at the gym will pass by, curious to learn more about how to get involved in boxing.
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Heaps teaches both individuals and classes, such as a group of high school athletes who cross train with him. Having the gym within walking distance of Park City High School is Heaps' favorite benefit of the new location.
Since Heaps said that people are gaining interest in boxing around the country, he hopes to see that similar momentum carry into Park City. He has already seen it starting, especially among the women he trains, which make up about half of his clientele.
"They like the hard workout," he said. "There is some confidence they get from it because it is just real enough. We're not doing the real thing here, but it's not just like a class of shadowboxing."
Most of the time, his students are punching mitts that Heaps holds as he tells them where and how to hit.
Bodell, who has been boxing with Heaps for a few years, loves boxing because he learns real punching combinations and hits actual objects rather than punching into the air. Plus, it is more mentally stimulating than running or lifting weights.
"It's a different kind of exercise," he said. "It's incredibly difficult and amazing cardio."
Both Bodell and Heaps love the variety and adrenaline from boxing, whether using it as a workout or a sport.
When Heaps sees his clients learn to love boxing as well, it fuels his desire to keep teaching. In particular, he enjoys when parents of his students tell them they are grateful for boxing because it is helping their child in their life.
"Some of these kids really need it," he said. "They dump it all out and punch it all out."
Heaps hopes to see the sport grow in Park City and perhaps even host competitions down the road. He is also starting boxing retreats that visit Pacific islands. This June, he plans on bringing a group to Fiji to meet and train with local boxers.
But as long as he keeps finding chances to train the next generation of boxers, Heaps will be happy that he paid it forward and left a legacy behind.
Park City Boxing Club
2080 Gold Dust Lane