Selma Boxing Club provides chance to get in shape, while learning sport

Published 6:21 am Sunday, October 30, 2016

Selma Boxing Club owner Jon Murphy holds up mitts for Cleophus Flanagan Brown to hit during a drill last week.

Selma Boxing Club owner Jon Murphy holds up mitts for Cleophus Flanagan Brown to hit during a drill last week.

At some point, Jon Murphy would like to develop an Olympic level boxer at the Selma Boxing Club. However, anyone that thinks the club is only about boxing couldn’t be more wrong.

The club will turn one year old on Nov. 1 and at this point, Murphy was hoping to have a significantly larger following. He’s committed to running the boxing club for another year, but he hopes to see it a lot busier in the next 12 months.

“My friends call me the rebound chick. Guys have a tendency to break up with their girlfriend, they want to come out here and work out for a month and then they go on back and find another girlfriend,” Murphy said. “It’s rough. I’m pretty demanding, and I know people want results and they aren’t going to be happy if they don’t get results.”

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The club does have a handful of regulars and they are all different ages. There are people that work out there as young as 11 and others as old as 50. Some, like 29-year-old Cleophus Flanagan Brown, are actually preparing to one day step into a ring. Others, like Shanna Maughan, do boxing workouts, but have no interest in ever boxing anyone.

“I think there may be a negative connotation to boxing club and people don’t realize it’s not what they have in their head or they think, ‘I don’t want to learn how to box,’” said Laura McClure, Murphy’s girlfriend who works out at the club. “I’m 46. I’m not interested in getting in a ring and getting hit.”

The club includes many workout machines and weights. It also has a boxing ring in the back, where members can practice mitts drills with Murphy, or spar, if they feel comfortable.

The results show in the numbers for those that have stuck it out.

Flanagan Brown, a former Troy University football player, weighed 365 when he started working out at the club. Now he’s down to 312 and may step into the ring for the first time Jan. 7.

“Hopefully, I can keep it going down,” Flanagan Brown said. “The goal is 250. If I can reach that, it’ll be all good.”

Murphy said boxing workouts are a great way to lose weight and get into shape.

“To be a boxer, you have to be in the best shape of your life,” he said.

Murphy has owned the building that now houses the club for many years. At one time, he ran a nightclub named Murphy’s out of the same building, but has since been renting it out.

It was also a nightclub when rented out. The last nightclub to be run there was named Bottoms Up.

“I just didn’t care to run one myself again. It was pretty rough,” Murphy said.

Instead, Murphy said he wanted to do something that would have a positive impact on the community. He first got involved in boxing at Faith Boxing in Montgomery 10 years ago and decided last year to bring the sport to Selma.

He said he’s not interested in making money. He has a job working for the state department in Montgomery and is only a few years away from retirement. The Selma Boxing Club is a registered nonprofit 501c3 with the IRS.

“My biggest reward is if I can sit there and help somebody physically,” Murphy said. “I’d love to develop an Olympic Boxer, but as far as a money angle, if somebody goes pro, somebody is going to come in here and grab them any way.”

Maughan opens up the club in the mornings from 9 a.m.-noon on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Murphy is there from 5 p.m. until as late as 10 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. He just asks that anyone that wants to work out be there by 8 p.m.

“It teaches you dedication, motivation, picking yourself up whenever you feel like giving up and I feel like those are qualities you get not only in the gym, it has to carry over into life too,” Maughan said.

The cost to be a member of the club is $50 a month per individual, but up to family of four can join for $100. Murphy said he works with those that struggle to pay.

“I don’t turn away anybody whos young and can’t afford to pay,” Murphy said. “They can pay what they have and if not, they can come out here and work.”

At the same time, he wants business to pick up so that he doesn’t feel like he’s wasting his time.

“A lot of people know we are here and I get sick of ‘This is great, this is awesome, this is just what Selma needs’ and then get no support. I could serve beer in here and there’d be a parking lot of [cars],” Murphy said. “That’s why I put that on the sign — things that aren’t supported die — because when it converts back to a nightclub, I don’t want to hear anybody come preaching to me, ‘oh, we didn’t know you needed help.’”

The club is located at 2519 Highway 14 in Selma.