4th Annual ATB Boxing Adventure with Big Brothers & Big Sisters

On Saturday, October 6, 2012, the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of San Diego County presented the 4th Annual ATB (Answer the Bell) Boxing Adventure featuring Paul “The Ultimate” Vaden at Ernie Johnson’s Old School Boxing Gym in San Diego’s college area. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Question for you: When’s the last time your child had one-on-one instruction from a former World Champion? For the fourth consecutive year, that’s what Paul “The Ultimate” Vaden, the former IBF and USBA Light Middleweight Champion provided local youth in conjunction with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of San Diego County. His ATB (Answer the Bell) Boxing Adventure took place Saturday at the Old School Boxing Gym in San Diego’s college area.


Of course when you’ve been a top athlete like Paul Vaden, competed in a sport for 16 years and been around it most of your life, you have a wealth of expertise to relay. On Saturday he moved about from one child to the next, imparting the basics of boxing and some advanced techniques along with their many subtle nuances.

He’s not only an ambassador for the sport, he possesses a strong capacity to connect with people. After surviving the rigors of his smash-mouth sport, he added another dimension to his life. He’s now all about preaching life’s lessons. Ever grateful that boxing gave him the platform, he never fails to use his capacity to connect with people and become a strong motivator.

When growing up, Vaden saw gyms like Ernie Johnson’s Old School Boxing as a wonderland, more enticing than a trip to Disneyland. For him, it was a place he couldn’t wait to explore. The furnishings inside created a sense of awe and wonderment where his young inquiring mind had an insatiable thirst for conquering, whether it be an exercise, an exercise machine or a boxing technique, he came to conquer them all. Now, as the Pied Piper of the sport, he looks forward to taking youngsters on that same journey.

The following is a slide show of Saturday’s adventure.

On arrival, the members of the Boys and Girls Club of San Diego looked about at the gym regulars who were just finishing up on their daily workouts. All photos: Jim Wyatt

At first, Paul Vaden, the former Light Middleweight World Champion, welcomed the group to the Old School Boxing gym and then prepped them for their boxing adventure.

Before getting started, the new recruits loosened up with some stretches and a little jump rope.

While his big brother continued exercise (seen below doing push-ups), this young man concentrated his efforts on one of the speed bags.

Paul Vaden (R) works with a youngster on how to throw punches and at the same time works on his footwork.

Riding a bicycle is easy as long as your big brother doesn’t set the settings to hill climbing.

One of the youngsters added some innovation to his workout by jumping on a heavy bag and going for a swing.

One youngster set out to punish the heavy bag while his big brother tried to hold it.

Paul Vaden (R) explains the different speeds of the TreadClimber and the possibility of being injured to one of the more uninhibited youngsters.

One of the big brothers commented, “If you say it’s too easy, we can always crank it up.”

This young man soon discovered that hitting the speed bag is a lot harder than it appears, especially on TV or in those Rocky movies.

Each of the youngsters were given an autographed 8 x 10 photo of the former Light Middleweight champion, Paul “The Ultimate” Vaden.

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