KARE 11: MINNEAPOLIS - The owner of a Northeast Minneapolis boxing gym will be the first woman inducted into the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame.
Lisa Bauch, 52, Uppercut Boxing Gym owner, will be recognized for her ongoing work as an advocate for the sport during a ceremony at Mystic Lake Casino on October 13.
“There are times when I open the door and there is already activity, and people and yelling and laughing and working out, just the different noises in the gym, it gives you some life and energy back in if you feel like you have been beat up a little bit,” said Bauch.
Her journey into the male dominated sport began in 1993, as a fitness instructor, when she struggled to find a boxing gym to improve her self-defense skills.
“When I saw how hard it was to find a gym, the business part intrigued me, of how you could get it out there to more people,” said Bauch.
She opened Uppercut Boxing Gym in 1996, at the corner of Lake and Lyndale. Her gym was briefly inside the Hyatt Regency and moved to its current location on Quincy Street in Northeast Minneapolis in 2002. To this day, she is the only woman to solely own and operate a boxing gym in the Midwest, and perhaps even the country, and has had to overcome many stereotypes.
“The self-doubt, a lot of women think I can’t do that, or shouldn’t do that, that is going to be too tough, but all you do is have to start the process and stay on that road, and keep your family and friends close to you because that is going to be your support,” she said.
In 2005, Boxing Digest Magazine called her “one of the few female players of substantial caliber in today’s boxing world.”
Over two decades, on the 21st anniversary of her gym opening its doors, she has helped thousands of others find the same passion for the sport, and has become a pioneer in a business unaccustomed to welcoming women into the sport.
“I think this is one of the reasons this gym has succeeded, men and women, everybody’s equal,” said Jack Kennelly, 66, of Mendota Heights. “I walked into Uppercut 14 years ago and never boxed in my life, now I’ve actually have five fights.”
Bauch trains professionals as well as amateur fighters and has worked as a trainer for Anthony “The Bullet” Bonsante, a competitor on the TV show “The Contender”. One of Bauch’s career highlights was working the corner of the Madison Square Gardens arena during another professional fight.
“I was wrapping hands, and I was sweating because there were so many people watching me and a commissioner said, oh, I have never seen a girl wrap hands before, it was nerve-wracking but it was great,” said Bauch.
Bauch will give a short speech during her induction, and plans thank all those that encouraged her along the way.
“I don’t know if it’s hit me yet,” she said. “It will be nice to be around people that worked with me and keep me going, they are going to be there. That means a lot.”