He never wanted to be a boxer, in fact his dream was to become a famous baseball player but, God had another plan for Allen Burris. As a child Allen was picked on because he was the only mixed kid in his predominantly white neighborhood. He never started the fights nor bothered anyone but was somehow always getting beat up on. To stay out of any further trouble, Allen decided to go to the gym to learn boxing techniques.
“It’s all about hard work it’s not a game cause at the end of the day somebodies really trying to hurt you. It’s not a game, it’s not no basketball game, there’s no pads. We’re physically trying to break each other up,” said Burris.
For the past 30 years, Baltimore Boxing Club has been the top training place for boxers. The club is not only known for training boxers, but also for getting people in shape and teaching them critical fighting techniques. Baltimore Boxing Club is very welcoming and friendly and open to children, women and men. The Club hopes to teach everyone to the best of their ability so they can leave learning something.
“If you’re doing it and not learning something, then what are you doing it for? If you win and don’t learn nothing then it’s pointless, it really is,” said Burris.
There are other instructors at Baltimore Boxing Club but, Allen is favored by most of the students. The most important part of being an instructor for Allen, is to ensure his students are happy and gaining something. To help deal with her anger in a more appropriate manner, 22 year old Laneese Fields started classes with Burris about a year ago.
“Allen is good at being an instructor because he actually works on the technique and cares about teaching the craft of boxing,” says Fields. “He has helped me by perfecting my motions and my mentality.”
Students come to Baltimore Boxing Club for various reasons, some to get in shape and others to train to be boxers. Fields did not plan on enjoying boxing as much as she does now, thanks to Allen she see’s herself going further with the sport.
“I see myself fighting in a professional fight,” says Fields. “I feel stronger, I see myself reacting differently and I think my boxing classes have prepared me for the real world.”
No matter the reason for joining, students leave the Baltimore Boxing classes feeling more confident and happy with themselves. When stepping foot in the gym, giving up is not an option. Katina Pearce, is the oldest student in Allen’s Tuesday and Thursday class.
“I feel proud that I am able to keep up with the young people and with the work out,” says Katina. “I feel good, healthy and accomplished.”
Pearce is another student who also favors and appreciates Allen as her instructor.
“He’s a great instructor, he doesn’t let me off the hook because I’m older, he pushes me and his expectations are the same for me as they are for the younger people,” says Katina.
Katina, Laneese and other students love learning the art and technique of boxing just as Allen did as a teenager.
“I went there not to be a boxer, i went there to learn the art of boxing cause I thought it was cool…I never wanted to be a boxer ever,” says Burris.
When Allen started boxing he was 18 and his instructor at the time, who was also the boss of the company realized how great of a boxer he was and believed in him. After his first 2 weeks of boxing classes, the instructor tells Burris that he would have his first fight in 2 weeks. After 59 days Allen won the state championship, and he never imagined that he would ever win a boxing belt. Boxing truly saved Allen. He gave Allen that little push he needed in life, and from there Allen gained the confidence to give other people the push they needed to succeed.
“Since boxing saved me from the streets all i want to do is give back and give back,” says Burris. “I don’t do it for money. My goal is to be a role model and a role model is priceless.”
Baltimore Boxing Club has been and will continue being a great place for people to come and get a good workout at the same time as a getting good training in boxing.
“I hope they keep training as much as they can and however far they get in the game of boxing, i’ll be satisfied and happy no matter what,” says Burris. “They can be at the bottom but that doesn’t matter to me what matters to me is their achieving goals and their happy and it’s helping them be a better citizen out here…you know a productive man out here in the streets.”