Meet Larry from Boxing Works
What are the physical and psychological benefits of jumping in the boxing ring or learning the art of jiu jitsu? Turns out there’s a lot more to love about combat sports than most people think.
“People of all ages, from five-years-old to septuagenarians, and of all backgrounds – from beginners to professional sports players, including the Swans, Roosters and Rugby Sevens – come to Boxing Works, for a range of reasons,” says Larry Papadopoulos, head trainer and owner of the gym chain and a professional sportsperson and athlete with a love for combat sports.
“Yes, people want to lose weight and get fit, but they also love to challenge themselves and love being part of a community. In this way, combat sports offer all the components needed to help people de-stress, alleviating anxiety and depression in the process. These are activities and skills that give people immediate satisfaction, but also have long-term results such as teaching discipline and giving confidence.”
Having developed a passion for judo and jiu jitsu at an early age, complemented by later studies in anatomy and physiology at university, Larry naturally fell into a career that revolved around sharing his loves with others. He competed in professional fighting leagues and MMA before opening his gym in Sydney, offering jiu jitsu, muay Thai, boxing, martial arts and more – all similar in that they are based on discipline, respect and restraint.
“It’s a pathway for fitness right up to amateur and professional competition,” Larry says, noting that his carefully selected trainers come with all the skills required to inspire, encourage and challenge guests.
“Our coaches all specialise in specific disciplines: kick boxing, wrestling or jiu jitsu. They’re not Jacks-of-all-trades – they know their discipline well. Our current wrestling coach, Leonid Zaslavsky, represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games; Ben Savva is a professional boxer and an Australian champion, and is the current WBC Asia Continental Title holder; and many others have been past champions in their field or previous Olympians,” says Larry.
Another way that Boxing Works stands out is by offering complementing classes, from cardio and strength to conditioning. “Alongside our group classes, we also offer cardio equipment, as well as a strength and conditioning class called Warrior Fit. These facilities all work together to complement boxing and wrestling. We’ve also just launched Learn to Spar, which is a class for absolute beginners on how to spar in a safe environment. Boxing is like any sport – it doesn’t have to have heavy impact or contact that people assume it encompasses.”
As good as it is to see people develop and improve their skills, Larry says that the greatest job fulfilment comes from witnessing his guests become more confident, happier and healthier.
“The industry benefits are huge, especially for people suffering from bullying, insecurities and depression. I love hearing how people have come out of a dark period in their life and can honestly say that things have improved and they are feeling better because of the gym. It’s a great relief from today’s crazy and busy lifestyles that we all tend to lead.”