For UW-Madison club boxing coach Bob Lynch, the revival of sparring at Wisconsin is only one page of the sport’s unique history. He recalls the popular birth of boxing and its rise as a cultural phenomenon following World War II. Scroll down for a full audio script and link to a text profile story about Lynch.
- Click here to read an in-depth text feature story (pdf) about Lynch and his experience with boxing.
NATSOT: “Dream a little dream” by Bing Crosby, 1950
Lynch SOT: Around the end of World War II, 1945, I was 12 years old and boxing gyms began opening up when World War II ended.
NATSOT: WWII radio clip 1
Lynch SOT: 12 million American young men came home after being in combat in Europe and in Asia.
NATSOT: WWII radio clip 2
Lynch SOT: And all of them had had a day or two or a week or two of boxing training while they were in the army or the marines or whichever.
Lynch SOT: It was just part of basic training.
Lynch SOT: So all of those people had that background and 90 percent of them or more didn’t really care about it.
NATSOT: Heavy bag punching
Lynch SOT: But at least had an understanding of it.
Lynch SOT: So the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars—those clubs—often opened up a boxing gym then as part of their operation.
NATSOT: Golden Gloves radio clip
Lynch SOT: “Do something for youth” was their main idea
Lynch SOT: There were guys who had been in combat in World War II that then came back and boxed in amateur boxing and in the colleges.
NATSOT: USA boxing radio clip
Lynch SOT: That was where it really spurted and grew and then substantially from there on.
NATSOT: Muhammad Ali Olympic radio clip
Lynch SOT: The people that I met are people that are still closest friends on mine in life and it was from being in a boxing gym.
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