Our November Contender of the Month is Jasper Peloquin. Jasper has been unstoppable in the gym recently and recently lost 20lbs as he prepares to return for competition. Check out our Q&A with him below, and see how his journey with boxing has evolved.
Q: What level of experience did you have with fitness and boxing before joining Contenders, and what would you rate your skill level at now compared to when you began?
A: Before joining Contenders, I’d boxed for two years, I’d just taken my first fight with almost no coaching, and was looking for something new. I wanted to stop slugging and fighting and actually learn to box. The model setup at Contenders gave me the room to think about my skills and attributes and approach fighting in a surgical way.
Q: Why did you decide to start boxing?
A: Like every other boy who grows up without a strong father figure, I had no idea at twenty if I was a real man or not. Boxing, early on, offered me a proving ground, a place where I could channel my energy and learn who I was. I found that I didn’t hate that self I found inside the ring. He could be beaten and humbled, he was sometimes less than I wanted, but he was true. He was me without the façade.
Q: What about Contenders stood out to you?
A: I’d been through a number of gyms that served as proving grounds—gyms that challenged me physically or threw me into deep waters in the ring—but I’d never been in a gym where I could think. After years at other gyms and some miles on my body, I was ready for something else. I came into Contenders looking for another proving ground but instead found a place where I could learn the sport of boxing.
Q: What are both your short term and long term fitness goals, and how has Contenders helped you in achieving them?
A: On the short term, I want to return to fighting shape. On the long term, I’d like to take a more few fights before hanging it up. Contenders has provided me with a place where I can do both at my pace. No one ever demands more of me than myself. Coaches at Contenders are there to watch you grow.
Q: What helps you stay yourself motivated in your fitness journey?
A: Self-loathing? The abyss of shame? Imposter syndrome? Being the middle-child of eleven? I’m not sure my answer here should be on an advert.
Q: What challenges do you face in boxing? How do you work through them?
A: At this point, I have physical limitations—bad knees, a bad hand, a bad back—but I hope to work around them. Getting back in shape and making sure my musculature supports and my injuries are protected is very important. I’m trying to find balance in training so that I can continue to box for the rest of my life.
Q: At Contenders, what is your favorite class to take? Why?
A: Sparring drills on Tuesday night. The controlled danger pushes me but also gives me the safety to try new things with the knowledge that no one is trying to take my head off. It affords me a sense of play with boxing which is sometimes absent when I spar.
Q: How has staying active helped in other areas of your life?
A: Boxing is a panacea for my mental health. It allows me a sense of control in the world. I can go into the gym and forget for a whole that I’m scared or broke or on the rocks with a partner. It swallows my focus for a moment and allows me to leave with a clear head to face what I need to face.
Q: If you could give a piece of advice to someone thinking about starting boxing, what would you say?
A: Do it, even if you never fight. As humans, we were bred to do hard things—competing completes us. Boxing offers us a way to assert ourselves within the void.
Q: How has your outlook of boxing changed over time?
A: I used to think I had to slug it out or be the toughest guy in the gym. Now, my body is what it is, and I accept that. I truly enjoy the sport, enjoy the thought exercise offers even when I’m at less than my physical best.
Q: …And lastly tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: As a 13 year old , I used to tap dance in Mexico City for money. It was not glamorous. Most gigs were on the third floor of an arcade, just beside the table where chips and drinks were served. Our stage was one floor below the inflatable bouncy castle and one floor above the ball-pit.