Interview: World Class Boxing gym

WCBsmlWorld Class Boxing in Kingston, Pennsylvania has become known as THE gym to learn boxing and martial arts in North Eastern Pennsylvania. It is owned and operated by Sean & Cheryl Diggs. I have assisted them in the past and can assure you that you will get top quality boxing instruction.

1) How did you get involved in boxing?

301686_10150283885099705_2692903_nSean: Got into it as a supplement for staying in shape for basketball when I played for East Stroudsburg University.  I ended up competing and winning a Semi-Pro Toughman title.  We got paid for it so we could not compete in USA Boxing.  Back in the early 90’s, professional boxers participated in them as well because of the money involved.  I remember seeing guys drive in from New York and New Jersey to fight.

Cheryl: I was introduced by Sean in college in 1997.  I have been training ever since.

2) World Class Boxing used to be located inside a fitness gym in Plains, Pennsylvania.  When and why did you leave that location?

Sean: We decided to leave because we wanted our own identity separate from a fitness center.  Most programs don’t usually survive in that atmosphere. Most fitness people are intimidated by it. So we decided to branch out and form a solid boxing club in NEPA (North East Pennsylvania) where people can train to compete or train to stay in shape.  A boxing club in a fitness center just didn’t feel right.  I wanted something that mirrored the gym that I trained at in Washington, D.C..  Finley’s was an awesome place. it is now closed , but  you trained side-by-side world champions!  No glamour, no glits, just sweat!  We had 2 heavy bags and a homemade ring.

Cheryl: I agree I wanted the same.  Hearing about the gyms my husband has trained in; I wanted to experience that.

3) What made you decide to teach martial arts at your gym?

5372_137351354704_2783237_nSean: I also have a martial arts background from Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Martial arts, and Muay Thai.  I am an instructor in Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino Martial arts under JKD Veteran Paul Vunak.  I am a Kru in Muay Thai under Master Toddy and a coach under Master Ace Ramirez.  I started back in 1993.  Boxing was my base art, but I eventually moved on to study other arts and add them to my boxing.  The Filipino Martial art of Panantukan has influenced boxing tremendously.  The hot bed in the early 1900’s was Hawaii. The English fighters would almost always lose to the Filipino practitioners.  They had more of a sophisticated style of boxing.  As time went on the English serviceman and boxers that visited adapted the techniques to their own causing boxing to evolve over time.  The other piece is that in Panantukan the weapon or tool (a punch) is looked at as the target to be neutralized through limb destructuctions, trapping, and followed up with elbows , head butts, etc.  This is illegal in boxing however.  The Filipino martial arts were also based on the knife.  This was the primary choice for defense and the most common weapon used in the Philippines.  The self defense applications were the same when it came to empty hand fighting except the knife was not used.  Weapons training like this has a tremendous effect on sensitivity and attribute development.  As a result, I wanted to teach these arts in the gym.  It makes the curriculum complete.  We have also added Brazilian Jujitsu.

Cheryl: I also have a background in those arts.  I am a coach in Muay Thai under Master Ace Ramirez, level 1 Jeet Kune do and Filipino martial arts instructor under Kru Sean Diggs and an apprentice instructor under Kru Sean in Muay Thai.  I enjoy  training them, but I also enjoy the fact that they are great for female empowerment.

4) Fitness seems to be the goal at World Class Boxing. For people who aren’t into combat sports like mixed-martial-arts and boxing, what could you offer them?

Sean: We have our fitness program which is non contact.  I pretty much take the same training approach I use with the fighters I train with fitness enthusiasts except there is no contact.  They learn REAL BOXING.  This is not Tae-Bo or a watered-down boxing program. We bring them along progressively and develop their boxing skills.

Cheryl: The ladies love it!  I push them and put them through a routine that a professional fighter would go through.

5) Do you have any fighters actively competing in boxing or MMA?  If so, tell us about them.

Sean: Yes we do.  I have been coaching since 2003.  In that time until now I have had the honor of coaching guys and gals that have won over 20 titles in boxing and mma on the amateur and professional levels.  I have been blessed to have them all have winning records.  One of our guys, Rex Harris, is the only athlete currently in NEPA to have an amateur boxing title and amateur mma title.  He was undefeated in mma, boxing, kickboxing, and muay thai as an amateur. He is the only athlete in NEPA to accomplish this feat.  Here are some of the athletes we work with now.  I am primarily the boxing, Muay Thai, or striking coach for these athletes.
1. Jimy Hettes:  10 -1 UFC fighter , PA Cage fight Featherweight Champion & MASS Featherweight Champion.
2. Rex Harris:  2010 PA  Golden Gloves Champ, 2010 Summer Golden Gloves Champ, ECC light heavyweight amateur mma champ, 4-1 as a pro mma fighter. making pro debut as boxer soon.
3. Ritch Patishnock:  5-1 ( Just defeated Igor Gracie in World Series of Fighting 2).
4. Robert Sockwell:  5-2 as a pro boxer ( mulyiple Pa golden gloves champ).
5. Joe Fye:  3-0 as a pro mma fighter ( all wins by TKO/ or KO).
6. Jim Jordan:  4-0 – (3 wins via submission).
7. Ritchie Gates:  4-1 amateur ( warrior challenge champion).
8. Lauren Williams:  2-1 amateur kick-boxer.

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6) Are there any plans in your future to put on your own boxing or MMA events?

Sean: No way.  I see what the promoters go through.  I will just stay a trainer.

7) Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like our readers to know?

247057_1552758599036_8074782_nSean: Yes.  Many people think that since we offer a fitness program that we don’t have fighters and they also think that we are not a complete training facility.  We have a program for all. It doesn’t matter if you want to get in shape or fight, or just want to do one of our martial arts. We can meet your needs on any level.  Thank you for the interview my friend.  We definitely miss you in the gym.

Cheryl: Our program is very safe for women to train as well.  It is very empowering and one of the fastest ways to get in the best shape of your life.  I am very proud of the fact that I am the only female boxing and muay thai coach in NEPA.  Come on down ladies and get a great workout!

For directions and a map to World Class Boxing: http://binged.it/ZBB92

Visit World Class Boxing on the internet to learn more about their programs.

About the Author

Justin M. Salvato
Justin M. Salvato is the creator & owner of BOXING 4 FREE. He's a former amateur boxer, former USA Boxing coach, and former boxing fitness instructor. These days he enjoys vintage computing, retro video games, and talking tech. He also writes a blog about the Coleco ADAM computer and Life with Microsoft.

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