“I couldn’t get away from the boxing,” says Andrea Nelson, whose Bob Lynch Boxing Foundation will host an important annual fundraiser in Pine Bluff this weekend.
Nelson started the sport relatively late in life. She started martial arts at 25, earned a second-degree black belt, then moved to boxing and kickboxing at 30, turning pro at 33.
“I started kind of late which was actually pretty common with women. Women’s boxing was pretty new” at the time — the late 1990s, she says.
She signed on to train with longtime coach Bob Lynch, who already had an Olympian and several successful pros under his tutelage.
“I moved up pretty fast,” she says. “I was kind of riding on the coattails of Eric Morel. He was the Olympian (who had) just turned pro, was world champion. I fought on the under card of most of his fights in the area.”
Over the next two years she went 9-1-1 as a pro before retiring to go back to school to become a licensed athletic trainer and raise her two children.
But the lure of the ring was too strong to stay away for long, and when Lynch retired in 2013, Nelson took the reins of his coaching legacy, founding a nonprofit organization in his name — the Bob Lynch Boxing Foundation — to support the work.
Training out of Ford’s Gym on the east side and her own gym on the west side, Nelson now works with a few dozen people who train in boxing just to stay in shape, as well as a handful of competitive boxers, including Briana Che, who has earned a spot at nationals in December — which is also a 2020 Olympic trial tournament.
The Bob Lynch Boxing Foundation has also taken over management of Wisconsin Golden Gloves, the top amateur competition in the state, affiliated with the National Golden Gloves. The Wisconsin Golden Gloves tournament is coming up in March 2019.
All of this costs money to run — especially to support the competitive boxers, who range in age from 16 to 40, and sometimes don’t have the resources to travel to the premier tournaments, which Nelson says can cost upwards of $1,000 for fees and travel.
“We don’t want money to be the reason they’re not competing,” Nelson says, so the Bob Lynch Boxing Foundation raises funds to support their competition.
This Saturday, November 3, will be the third annual White Collar Boxing event, where Nelson hopes to raise more than $10,000.
The event, to be held at the Red Mouse sports bar in Pine Bluff, near Cross Plains, will feature nine bouts between white-collar community members, most of whom haven’t boxed before, willing to get a bloody lip or two for a good cause.
The volunteers are all-in — they’ve been training four or five days a week for the past four months, and most of them bought their own gear and paid for their gym time. They’re matched up by age, weight and gender.
Tickets are $20 and donations will be welcome. Tickets are available at Ford’s Gym, the Bob Lynch Foundation website, and at the door. Doors open at 6 and bouts begin at 7 pm. The event should last about two and a half hours.
“It’s a great event,” Nelson says. “Last year it was packed. There’s a lot of great energy.”