Owner fights to keep boxing gym going

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Terry Buterbaugh got into boxing because it isn’t a team sport.

“I like that it’s just me in the ring,” he said. “I can’t blame anyone else if I lose.”

However, when it comes to preparing for a fight, Buterbaugh says it’s important for a boxer to train at a gym where there is camaraderie.

“We are all kind of like a family here, and you need that as a boxer,” the owner of Old School Boxing Gym said. “Everybody helps each other out and trains with everyone.”

The Pennsylvania native moved to the Colorado Springs area in the early 2000s after receiving military relocation orders for Fort Carson.

“I was a welder in the Army,” Buterbaugh said. “I started training in kickboxing when I was still in and switched to boxing when I got out because it’s far easier to find fights and I just fell in love with it.”

In 2005, the Army veteran bought Jungle Boxing Gym from a friend and changed its name a year later to Old School Boxing Gym.

“I wanted to stay in Colorado because it is great altitude for training,” Buterbaugh said. “Also when I got out [of the military], I went to school here. It really was a combination of a bunch of things why I stayed in the Springs — but mostly because of boxing.”

The gym’s new name was chosen by its members, who submitted suggestions and then voted on their favorite.

“I like it because that’s all we do, is just boxing,” Buterbaugh said. “And we’re a little old school I guess.”

The gym has about 40 members, which include all experience levels.

“I have amateurs, a few pros and beginners who train here,” Buterbaugh said. “It’s a real one-on-one atmosphere, so I can jump around and coach people to their capabilities and the skill level they are at.”

Three times a week, the gym also offers a boxing class for those with Parkinson’s disease.

“Somebody from Denver brought the program to me a few years ago and I thought it was interesting, so we went with it,” Buterbaugh said. “They have found that boxing helps those with Parkinson’s disease with their mobility and memory because you are doing several things at once.”

Several of the gym’s users are service members from the area’s military bases.

“I’ve got both some Army guys and some Air Force guys,” Buterbaugh said. “The guy in the ring over there right now is a captain in the Air Force.”

One of the gym’s professional boxers is currently undefeated at 8-0 and is promoted by former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

Buterbaugh said about five years ago there was a surge of people interested in boxing because of an increase in televised fights, including those on ESPN and some traditional broadcasting networks, such as NBC and Fox.

“Previously, it was just on Showtime and HBO where you had to pay more,” he said. “I saw more people come in after that changed, but that didn’t last long.”

Buterbaugh says the hardest part about running the gym is trying to turn a profit.

“It doesn’t have huge public interest, so I don’t have a ton of new people coming in,” he said. “But I do have enough to keep the doors open and pay the bills.”

Like many small business owners, Buterbaugh has turned to social media as a way to draw in new members.

“I use Facebook and Yelp, and sometimes I run ads on Fox, which it all seems to help a little,” he said. “I’ve never really been in it to make a lot of money; I do it because it’s fun and I love boxing.”

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