Hidden in the depths of the iStorage business center off of Highway 50 East, there’s a space that’s packed with people between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m.
Inside, people of all ages — from kids to adults — are at different workout stations. Some are in the boxing ring or punching speed bags, while others jump rope.
For 20 years, Carson City Boxing Club — a father-son owned business — has provided open gym hours to members who want to get into shape, blow off steam, pick up a new hobby, or meet potential friends.
“We’re giving people a positive place to train,” said Mike Peralta, coach and co-owner. “Especially for the kids — it keeps them occupied and out of trouble.”
Boxing is a form of fitness and a way of life; the goal is to bring empowerment and confidence among individuals, and help kids pass out for bedtime, said club owner and Mike’s father, Frank Peralta.
Frank has coached boxing since the 1980s. But convincing Carson City to let go of a negative mindset about boxing has been the biggest challenge, he said.
“It’s only a brutal sport if you teach it to be brutal,” he said. “It’s martial arts. It teaches the kids discipline and because they’re active, they achieve good grades in school.”
“I don’t allow back talk or cussing,” Mike said. “It’s about learning the art and the exercise.”
Boxing coaches such as the Peraltas believe the sport benefits mental and physical health for all ages.
But since the majority of the club’s members are children, both coaches said it prevents them from getting involved in fights at school.
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended doctors oppose youth boxing because of the risk of injuries.
But with years of professional coaching, the Peraltas ensure all members are protected with correct forms of training. Mike was deemed a professional in 2006 after years of competing in tournaments.
One of the youngest members of the bunch is 7-year-old D’Angelo Filmore. For the last two months his mother, Maria Ramirez, has been taking him three to four times a week.
Ramirez said she has noticed healthy changes in D’Angelo since signing up at the club.
“It gets his mind off of the television and tablet,” she said. “He gets to go at his own pace at the club, while interacting with others in his age group. He’s happier.”
Ramirez also began taking women’s workout classes at the club, coached by Mike.
“You motivate each other,” she said. “Even after a hard workout, your body feels better.”
Longtime member Juan Ayala, 14, said boxing is helping him grow.
“It’s changed me,” he said. “Ever since I’ve started, I’ve been getting better grades at school.”
As for Coach Mike, he’s familiar with restlessness, especially during his childhood. Frank started training him when he was 9, in 1991.
“I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid,” he said. “Doctors recommended I try Ritalin, but my parents didn’t want that for me. With my dad as boxing coach, that’s how I started in the sport. It has a lot more benefits besides fighting.”
The Peraltas moved the club to its current location in 2001, but have been serving the community since 1997.
Before Carson City Boxing’s establishment, Frank coached at the local police academy in 1995. Back then, his dream was to go pro, prior to his boxing experience in Mexico.
“My grandfather started training me when I was 14 to keep me out of trouble,” he said. “I never planned to stay in the United States, but I changed my mind when I visited.”
In 1996, Frank became a boxing coach in the gymnasium at Stewart Indian School, with Carson City boxing coaches Victor Bruno and Chuck Williams.
But it didn’t last long; authorities evicted the team, ending a boxing era of three-quarters of a century, off and on. The boxing team at the school was formed in the late 1930s and ran until 1949. In 1969, former Carson City Judge Robey Willis revived the program as coach.
Frank didn’t give up after that. He bought an empty gym off of Highway 395, which used to house the National Guard — until he had to move out again after the 9/11 attacks.
“They told me I couldn’t use it anymore because of threats,” he said.
But destiny fell in Frank’s hands later that year; he bought the storage space on Highway 50 East.
“Frank is the reason why this business is still alive today,” Mike said. “He’s the reason why we have so many kids participating.”
The club also originated a successful team for male members, the Carson City Boxing Club Knockout. They’ll be competing in the Northern California Association Junior Olympic Boxing Championships March 25 in Oakland, Calif.
“I see coaching as a big responsibility,” Frank said. “It’s for kids and the community as a whole. I think I’m more of a helper than a coach.”
Carson City Boxing open gym hours for all ages are 6-8 p.m., Monday through Friday. It’s $35 a month with no contract.
The community also can contribute; the club needs boxing bags, jump ropes, and other gym necessities.
To make an appointment, call Mike at 775-560-4686 or walk into the gym at the iStorage, 3579 Highway 50 East business center, suite 219.