The pride and joy of the Philippines is a 5-foot-5 boxing champ named Manny Pacquiao. As a 25-year-old and slightly shorter woman of Filipino descent, me taking a boxing class could be LMAO-worthy. While I’m not fit to take on any version of Floyd Mayweather, both her sweat.‘s Niki and I hit up Title Boxing Club’s West 37th Street location on a sunny Sunday in August for a PPV-worthy session of core work and profuse sweating.
Gym owner Michael Tosto served as our instructor for the 1:15pm workout party. Before we could even pick our spots, whispers of his class being the hardest of all the sessions touched our ears. Still, positive mantras, like Ronda Rousey’s #DNB speech, were written in our mental Post-It notes as we aggressively jabbed and crossed under Tosto’s instruction. The choreography wasn’t instantly perfect. During the bag work, I was having trouble twisting my mid-section for a more fluid punch. Keeping my form square and shoulders loose was also a struggle while Niki broke a lengthy nail (#RIP) from swinging so hard.
The diversity of women taking the class, in both body shape and color, melted away any insecurities, if not pushed us harder. The constant switch-up in Tosto’s routine set off all our sweat glands and put our muscles through the wringer. We felt the burn, performing a medley of jump squats, crunches, medicine ball exercises and sets of minute-long planks in between combos. No lie, our bodies were ready to collapse by the 40th minute. The individual attention that Tosto gave to us and his students, though, made up for it.