Trim, fit and lithe at 33, Tim Witherspoon, Jr. looks like he could still climb into the ring and hold his own against most competition.
And while he doesn’t rule out fighting again, the former professional boxer and Pennsbury High School student is now focusing his energy on getting others into the same kind of shape.
Fulfilling a long-time goal of owning his own business, Witherspoon just opened Witherspoon Boxing and Fitness at the Grundy Commons Business Center on Canal Street in Bristol Borough. It welcomes people of all ages interested in boxing at any level and also has a yoga studio and various other exercise options, including free weights, bicycle and rowing machines and others. The business also will soon have Pilates, Tai Chi and other fitness regimens, he said.
“We want to make it the boxing center of Bucks County,” said Witherspoon, the son of former world heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon, Sr.
The younger Witherspoon, who went 10-5-1 as a welterweight and lightweight before he retired in 2014, had been working as a personal trainer at MPR near Oxford Valley Mall in Middletown before he decided it was time to strike out on his own.
“I love boxing and I love fitness, and it brings me joy to see people learn boxing,” he said. “The main thing I want to do with this gym is give the community a chance to learn boxing the right way. A lot of times, people start and get discouraged because they’re getting hit a lot. They aren’t being taught proper defense and other techniques.
“Our No. 1 mission is that everyone comes here and learns boxing and brings out their own inner champion, whatever that might be,” Witherspoon continued. “If you want to come and just shadow box and hit the bag, that’s fine, but we’ll also train people who might want to go on and have amateur and even pro bouts someday.”
That’s the goal of Bensalem resident A.J. Bateman, one of several of Witherspoon’s members at his new business who followed him from MPR.
“I’m not sure if I’ll ever go pro but I definitely want to get into amateur boxing,” Bateman said.
And Witherspoon is the man to take him there, Bateman added.
“Everything I know about boxing has come from Tim,” he said. “He’s a great coach and a great motivator. Boxing is a terrific workout and has put me in tremendous shape, and it’s a great way to build self discipline and self-esteem.”
Another long-time Witherspoon client, Langhorne Manor resident Joy Booz, agrees, though she got into boxing for slightly different reasons.
“It started off as a stress reliever and now I find it very empowering,” said Booz, an eighth-grade math teacher at Charles Boehm Middle School in Lower Lakefield.
“I don’t want to actually have (amateur or pro) fights in the ring or anything,” she continued. “But if anyone ever attacked me, I want to be able to defend myself and not just stand there. Boxing has given me the confidence to do that. It’s also helped me lose weight, improve my upper body strength and gave me good body tone, which never hurts for the beach.”
Middletown resident Kevin Strouse said his 7-year-old son Walter is in good hands with Witherspoon.
“He’s a great coach,” Strouse said. “And I think boxing is such a great sport to teach my son skills that will help him not only with other sports but also life in general, like footwork, coordination, conditioning and the importance of self discipline and hard work.”
Witherspoon has already signed up about 25 members for his boxing/fitness center, and hired 10 instructors. His father will also be a frequent instructor at the center, Witherspoon said.
After he left Pennsburg High School as a junior to become a professional boxer, Witherspoon later earned his General Equivalency Degree. He lives in the Croydon section of Bristol Township with his girlfriend Angie Clark and their four children.
More professional fights could be somewhere in Witherspoon’s future and he also wants to eventually be a promoter for amateur and professional boxing, but those things aren’t the priority right now.
“I just want to make this place the best, someplace our clients can get the best experience, and be an asset to the community,” he said.
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