In a city with an insane amount of top class bullshitters who think they can be and do anything and everything, it is refreshing to meet real people doing something genuine and impactful. Recently I had the privilege of spending time sweating with World Champion boxer Michele Aboro and her partner Yilan Yuen, the founders of Shanghai’s newest premier boxing gym, Aboro Academy
. The gym opened at the beginning of this year as the pairs’ second boxing facility after Golden Gloves
. They left Golden Gloves, home of the now famous annual Brawl on the Bund
tournament, with the goal of making a more down to earth gym focused on providing the highest quality of training and the least amount of douchery.
Michele Aboro, originally from UK, began her training at a time when women were not allowed in boxing gyms and she went on to win Kickboxing World Champion five times, World Super Bantamweight Champion two times, and K1 Champion two times. She has an undefeated record of 21 wins, 12 knockouts victories, and zero losses. Michele moved to Shanghai in 2010 after visiting the city and seeing that people often move here to reinvent themselves, be it as businessmen, teachers, or athletes, when they don’t have actual credentials or experience to do so. There was a gap in the availability of real professionals providing high quality training.
Today Aboro Academy fills that gap -- every trainer in the gym has fought or fights in China’s professional boxing circuit and has first-hand experience in the ring which translates into their teaching. Unlike many fight gyms around the city where classes are often focused on cardio, classes at Aboro Academy are focused on technique. With practice, repetition, and proper training, you will really learn how to box like a pro, and you’ll get a workout doing it. Their coaches offers classes for all levels in Boxing, Dutch Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Women’s Boxing, Zen Boxing, Strength Conditioning, Cardio, Circuit Training, and Sparring, and they may be launching a kids boxing class. They also offer 1:1 training, private group classes, and other customizable training programs for individuals. Facilities and equipment are top class and the gym is kept impeccably clean -- you might get your ass kicked for making a mess.
In addition to teaching public classes (I recommend any women looking to train to go check out Michele’s women’s boxing classes on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings), Michele also trains her staff and students who are preparing for fights, either in the pro circuit or in the gym’s upcoming charity fight. Michele and Yilan dedicate an important part of their time to building up the Aboro Foundation, a charity they created to offer professional sports and personal training certifications to young Chinese students who cannot afford it. They also offer weekly free classes to these and other young people who find themselves in Shanghai without adequate support, hoping to create a healthy community and lifestyle that can help support them. On September 27 Aboro Academy will host a fun fight night where attendees are encouraged to donate to the foundation.
On finding it:
Aboro Academy opened early this year on Changhua Lu - that road up near Suzhou Creek that is annoying to get to but where everything cool and hip seems to be opening lately. For more information about Aboro Academy, check their website: http://www.aboroacademy.com
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