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Salmon Arm couple’s boxing gym on good footing in city’s downtown

Whizbang Boxing’s Shawn Desautels aims to foster a love for the sweet science
Whizbang Boxing coach and co-owner Shawn Desautels works the speed bag. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Opening a boxing gym in Salmon Arm’s downtown is proving to have been a good move for Shawn and Shelley Desautels.

The couple opened the doors to Whizbang Boxing, located at 101 Hudson Ave., in May. Since then, the number of people using the space, and the amount of equipment in it, has grown.

“I’m already starting to outgrow the space,” said Shawn, not put off by this consideration.

Shawn explained he and Shelley opened Whizbang in response to a need they saw in Salmon Arm for an open access boxing and fitness gym. Classes aren’t taught at Whizbang. Instead, Shawn said he and other experienced boxers are available to provide individualized workouts using circuit training and one-on-one coaching.

For Shawn, the gym offers a space where he can help others through boxing the way boxing helped him.

“It helps kids with their shyness, it makes them a little more confident, people that are timid, it makes them feel a little bit more confident and secure – they can walk with their head up,” said Shawn. “Boxing does a lot of positive things. Whether they compete or are just doing it for fitness or self-defence, there’s a lot to be gained from boxing – mentally, physically and personally.”

Whizbang’s mission statement includes building a “positive and supportive community to foster the love of the sport.”

In addition to the more tangible circuit training offerings at Whizbang that include a ring, heavy bags, speed bags, resistance bands, etc., the Desautels also offer access to Neurotrainer, a virtual-reality based technology that helps improve focus and athletic performance. 

Shawn explained the Neurotrainer helps athletes counter technologies that have affected people’s attention span.

“Using technology to get your focus back almost seems a little counter intuitive…,” said Shawn. “We train the mind, agility, mental health, the psychological health of the athletes. It’s all just as important as how many burpees, how many chin ups they can do.”

In addition to building the business, Shawn is also focused on getting one of his fighters ready for an upcoming novice tournament (for boxers with less than 10 fights under their belts) in November.

“It’s a rewarding feeling, training these people and seeing them develop, even in a short amount of time,” said Shawn.

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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