Harvard Boxing Club

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The Harvard Boxing Club is a student organization at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Boxing has been a popular campus activity since the late 19th century.[1] In the intramural tournament of 1879, future President Theodore Roosevelt faced C.S. Hanks in the lightweight championship and lost, after a controversial late-hit by Hanks. According to historian Edmund Morris, the crowd started booing Hanks prompting Roosevelt to put up his hands and shout “It's alright, he didn’t hear [the bell]”. When Roosevelt campaigned for the Presidency, his supporters would frequently recall this anecdote as an early example of his extraordinary character.[2]

Boxing became an official varsity sport in 1922, as per recommendation of the Harvard Athletic Committee, and Harvard boxers performed well against their Ivy League opponents (amassing a 25:11:4 record from 1930 to 1937).[3] The team expanded during World War II, when all undergraduates were required to participate in intercollegiate boxing training as a way of improving wartime fitness.

In 1961, the NCAA decided to discontinue boxing as an intercollegiate sport and the Harvard Boxing Team was replaced by the Harvard Boxing Club.[4] Intramural tournaments continued until 1976 when Harvard banned them due to riotous crowd attendance, leaving the Harvard Boxing Club (in its current form) as the last remnant of the college’s proud boxing tradition.[5]


The Harvard Boxing Club currently includes several dozen members, many of whom participate in the annual Harvard Boxing Club Exhibition Night (a tradition that was revived in 2009).[6] The Club is now co-ed (since the merging of Harvard and Radcliffe College) and includes both undergraduates and graduates.

The Harvard Boxing Club is managed by one undergraduate President and four undergraduate Captains.[7] The Harvard Boxing Club is coached by former title-holding amateur fighter, Doug Yoffe, who assumed the position in 2001. Yoffe replaced Tommy Rawson—former national amateur lightweight champion (with an 223-4 amateur record), former chairman of the Massachusetts Boxing Commission, and one-time trainer of boxing legend Rocky Marciano.[8] Rawson had been “Coach” since 1941.[9]

The Club practices two hours per day, six days per week. Skill days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) are typically led by the Coach, while conditioning days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) are typically led by the Captains.[7]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ '99 Fathers and Sons Attend Boxing | News | The Harvard Crimson
  2. ^ Edmund Morris. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. New York: Random House, 1979.
  3. ^ John Harvard's Journal - Sports: Ringside since 1920
  4. ^ Ban Stops Boxing Club From Africa Fundraiser | News | The Harvard Crimson
  5. ^ HLS: News: Harvard Law Today - May 2003
  6. ^ http://recreation.gocrimson.com/information/club_sports/Harvard_Boxing
  7. ^ a b http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/boxing/
  8. ^ Longtime Mentor, Boxing Coach Dies | News | The Harvard Crimson
  9. ^ Harvard Gazette: 92 and still champ
  10. ^ HARVARD WANTS BOXING - Students Attempting to Revive Sport Popular Years Ago. President Roosevelt Was Clever with the Gloves Then, but Was Outpointed by Charles Hanks. - Artic...
  11. ^ http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK+Library+and+Museum/Visit+the+Library+and+Museum/Museum+Exhibits/Sports+Exhibit.htm
  12. ^ http://www.mesereauyu.com/mesereau_defends_rich_famous_poor_unknown.html
  13. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/business/01joseph.html
  14. ^ Alan Jay Lerner. The Street Where I Live. New York: Da Capo Press, 1994.
  15. ^ {cite web | url = http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/10/fight-fiercely-harvard/ | title = Fight Fiercely, Harvard | author = Sarah Sweeney | publisher = Harvard Gazette | date = 13 Oct 2011 | accessdate = 15 Apr 2014}
  16. ^ Alex Angarita - Survivor: Fiji Contestant
  17. ^ Parker Jabs Stereotypes Of Boxing | News | The Harvard Crimson
  18. ^ The Atlantic | December 2001 | Portrait of a woman as a young boxer | Boyne
  19. ^ The Johns Hopkins Gazette: November 6, 2000
  20. ^ The Joy of Boxing
  21. ^ Harvard Boxer Wins Golden Gloves Award | News | The Harvard Crimson
  22. ^ Sam Sheridan took a road not often chosen by a Harvard graduate - The Boston Globe
  23. ^ Norman Mailer on Boxing | Open Letters Monthly - an Arts and Literature Review

External links[edit]