Whatsoever Community Center breeds boxers and champions

boxing1.tif

Whatsoever Community Center continues to breed champions and mold young minds through its Boxing Club. Whatsoever boxers have gone on to compete in the U.S. Nationals, the Junior Olympics, Silver Gloves, National Police Athletic League Boxing Championships, among others. Above, Isaias Perez, 15, throws a punch at 18-year-old Johnathon Petterson. Photos by Leslie Collins

By Leslie Collins
Northeast News
December 14, 2011

Music blared in the basement of Whatsoever Community Center, 1201 Ewing. The steady beat of the bass accentuated each blow to the punching bag. A jab here, a jab there. All was executed with fierce concentration. Whatsoever wasn’t just breeding boxers, they were breeding champions.

For six years, Tim Petterson has coached the Whatsoever Boxing Club, instilling in youth the fundamentals of boxing and life.

“I like the competitiveness of the sport,” Petterson said. “It teaches them a lot of self-confidence and it’s a really good sport to stay in shape all year round. It’s not like football or basketball season, it’s an ongoing sport.”

Five days a week, youth train at the center, perfecting their boxing skills and building up their cardio routine. Some youth arrive at 4:30 p.m. and don’t leave until 7 p.m. Some nights, as many as 35 youth show up and ages range from eight-year-olds to 20-year-olds.

“The biggest thing in this neighborhood is it keeps a lot of kids off the streets that have had problems or could get into problems,” Petterson said. “It’s rewarding to see the kids do something to keep them in the gym and keep them out of trouble as much as possible.”

Training to compete as a boxer isn’t easy.

“It’s a lot more than getting in there and fighting in the ring,” said Johnathon Petterson, a Whatsoever boxer and Coach Petterson’s son. “You’ve got to work for it to even be able to get into the ring. It takes commitment.”

That commitment includes staying within your weight bracket and intense cardio. Each youth is given a cardio routine, Coach Petterson said, which ranges from sit-ups to medicine ball workouts to jumping rope. One exercise involves a 311-pound tractor tire that individuals will flip or push back and forth to build up strength.

For some Whatsoever boxers, that commitment has led to professional boxing careers. One example is José Saenz, who was drafted for the L.A. Matadors, a world series boxing team.

“He uses his brain, too,” Petterson said of Saenz. “He’s gotten a scholarship to Rockhurst (University) through boxing and he’s worked on his accountant’s degree.”

Excelling in school is one of the things Petterson tries to instill in his boxers, he said. Homework and school always come first, he said.

For 15-year-old Andy Rodriguez, boxing is a “unique” sport that sets him apart from his peers. He likes the challenge, he said, and the sport has taught him self-confidence. Without Whatsoever Community Center, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to box, he said.

“There’s not many other gyms out there,” he said. “I can walk to this gym.”

Johnathon said a Northeast News article sparked his interest in boxing. While rolling newspapers, he noticed an article about Whatsoever boxer Jesse Rivera winning a tournament. Johnathan visited the Whatsoever Community Center and fell in love with the sport.

“I just like to fight pretty much,” he said with a smile. “I figured I might as well do it where it’s supposed to be done in the ring.”

Both Johnathon and Rodriguez have competed in the Junior Olympics and continue to excel in their divisions, Petterson said. On Dec. 16, Rodriquez will compete in the state Silver Gloves tournament in St. Louis.

“It’s a big tournament; there’s no novice division,” Petterson said.

“It’s exciting,” Rodriguez said. “It’s my last year fighting in the Silver Glove and I want to give this thing my all.”

boxing3.tif

Petterson and Perez continue to duke it out in the boxing ring.

boxing2.tif

Juan Nuñez perfects his punches on a punching bag.

 

Comments are closed.

  • Urban Dirty rides in 2015

    November 25th, 2015
    by

    Down and dirty along Cliff Drive. Last weekend, men, women and children of all ages took on a cycling course specifically designed to test their strength and stamina during the first


    Royals world series celebration

    November 11th, 2015
    by

    Royal party. The event, which is estimated to be the largest celebration event in Kansas City history, brought approximately 500,000 fans to Kansas City’s downtown.


    After-school program receives over $300,000 award

    November 11th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Northeast Middle School principal Sabina Gonzales says her students have soccer madness.
    On Friday, Nov.


    KCU partners with Northeast schools to give students a running chance

    November 4th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Over the past four weeks, elementary students from Scuola Vita Nuova and Gladstone Elementary have partnered with medical students from the Kansas City


    Urban Youth Academy coming to Kansas City

    October 6th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Missouri has teamed up with Major League Baseball [MLB] and the Kansas City Royals to create a safe atmosphere for young baseball fans in Kansas


  • Kansas City Chiefs and community partners help Northeast High School score new football field

    September 9th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Are you ready for some football on a new football field?
    On Tuesday, Sept.


    New exhibition steps up to the plate

    July 14th, 2015
    by

    By Michaela Bishop Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Artists come in all shapes and sizes to use various tools to create art.


    Beer, BBQ and bicycles

    June 2nd, 2015
    by

    Beers, bikes and barbecue. Last weekend, the Kansas City Microbrews and BBQ festival, along with the Tour of Kansas City Cliff Drive Classic Circuit Race and 5K run took over the


    Chiefs’ linebacker donates dens to help promote reading

    May 27th, 2015
    by

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Derrick Johnson knows the importance of children reading early and often.


    Tour of Kansas City takes in the sights of the NE this weekend

    May 27th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — If you’re traveling through the Northeast this weekend, watch out for cyclists.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Mardi Gras celebration

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Feb. 10, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Columbus Park’s Don Bosco Senior Center was the scene […]

    City to Speedy Cash – you’re done

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The wrecking ball has been spared once at the corner of Independence Boulevard and Prospect Avenue.

    Upscale Baltimore Hotel hosted presidents

    Northeast News Eccentric. That’s how many described noted turn-of-the-century Kansas City architect Louis S. Curtiss.

  • [Advertisement.]