Lately, when choosing my go-to studio for my current location Santiago de Chile, I found myself faced with a tougher choice than usual. Two top studios gave me a good fight, each with top arguments, but extremely different. Santiago is a widespread city with about 6 million inhabitants. Proximity is an important factor. My home location is the financial sector of Las Condes, slightly to the east of the city center with a metro station close by. There is no boxing studio in the nearest proximity to where I live. At least none that I know of or could find with a google search. Both of the studios available to me are at about equidistant in commuting time: a good half an hour.
Least to say, I also look for quality. These have it as I could experience first hand. Both allowed for a trial lesson. I called in advance, but you could probably also just show up to one of their classes as to schedule. Emailing proved to be a time-lag, but works for who is not firm in Spanish and allows for a one or two day wait. Now, without further ado, let’s see the contestants.
In the right corner we have the young, modern and trendy studio in Las Condes: BXO-Boxing.
In the left corner: established, smart and executive White Collar Club. A gem of the old school. Located on the top floor of an traditional mid-size business hotel in the commercial and city center of Santiago.
Round 1 – Contact
This was a typical case for Murphy. I tried e-mailing BXO-Boxing but did not receive an immediate reply. I eventually got one almost a day after and when I had already visited their studio. Since I wanted to work out without delay I called up. Friendly and inviting they said I could come on by any time I wanted to try out. With White Collar Club the next day, I called up Hotel Panamericano where it is hosted. And what do you think they asked me?? To please email the contact person, Elizier Moreno. My bad, but they were amiable about it. Within minutes I got a reply to a free trial training. Off I went.
We are still warming up, but I would give this round to White Collar Club as for the non-Spanish speaker it is more comfortable and clear to communicate in writing.
Round 2 – Location
Location of course depends on where you are coming from. BXO-Boxing is in the further east part of Las Condes, close to Alto Las Condes, one of the big and elegant shopping malls of the city. A bus station is almost in front of the studio. Driving would make for an even quicker alternative.
White Collar Club is in the mere city center only a few meters to walk from the presidential palace La Moneda. The best gateway is the metro station of the same name “La Moneda” on Line 1.
Image credit: Davidlohr Bueso
Other than for work, bureaucracy or cultural activities, the city center is not too much of a destination in santiaguino life. Especially at night the center empties out considerably.
If you are not particularly closer to one than the other, the location round is won by BXO-Boxing for its quick accessibility by car and after hours safety.
Round 3 – Price
Which is the better deal for you depends somewhat on how long you plan to stay and how often you go. BXO-boxing charges an admission fee of CLP 15,000 (that’s USD 21.00 for you) with a monthly of CLP 40,000 (USD 56.00) for two sessions per week CLP 46,000 (USD 64.00) for unlimited visits.
White Collar Club is more expensive, but offers interesting discounts for women and for the long run. While a regular monthly without commitment goes for CLP 85,000 (hefty USD 119.00) with a CLP 25,000 (USD 35.00) admission fee, for women it is CLP 50,000 (USD 70.00) flat, no admission fee.
This round goes to BXO-boxing, though White Collar Club has its fist clenched for a comeback in round 5.
Round 4 – Schedule
Offering classes around the clock between 8.00h (some days even as early as 7.00h) and 21:30h from Monday to Friday and with a more limited opening time on Saturdays, BXO-boxing has a broad and varied course schedule. Most classes are straight boxing classes, some though focus heavier on body workout. There are even aerobic box fitness classes for women, if you want to go down this path. More options let you plan your training around your personal schedule. Don’t forget to make it a point to go, though. I have noticed that if there are too many alternatives, I tend to be less duly.
White Collar Club has a straight forward easily memorable plan. Monday through Fridays you can train for a good hour at 8.00, 13.00, 14.00, 18.00 or 19.15h.
In this round, BXO-boxing almost gives White Collar Club the knock-out.
Round 5 – Facilities
A boxing gym does not imperatively include a ring, but these two do. A decent amount of around 5 to 10 punching bags hang firm from both ceilings.
BXO-boxing is an ground-floor edgy colorful gym with graffiti on the walls. All equipment is new. The recent investment made is clearly visible. Bathrooms are functional, simple and clean.
White Collar Club is on the bright top and 13th floor of the hotel with a large window bank. The room itself exists for as long as the hotel is in place which can be seen in the wooden paneling. The ring and sports equipment was added later, but date to about ten years ago. Wear can be seen here and there without stunting use.
In terms of amenities the hotel manages to unveil a first hard punch and trumps the gym-only with ease. Bathrooms are elegant, hotel clean and include towel service, convenient for the executives on their lunch break to be office ready after their workout. An additional facilitation at White Collar Club is the possibility to store gear safely in the gym ready for your next workout. I have not asked if this possibility exists at BXO-boxing but neither have I seen a spot where the fellows could do it. My guess due to the more fluctuating crowd that gear is better taken home and brought to each session.
White Collar Club hits precisely in this round.
Round 6 – Workout-Intensity
After all we are here to exercise instead of merely enjoying the scenery. BXO-boxing starts with strengthening exercises like push-ups and crunches. Then it’s partner up for technique and punching bags. I’d give the workout a medium intensity level. White Collar Club starts with easy flowing gymnastic movements, followed by more heavy weight punching bag or sparring. These in fact are at a higher intensity level.
Both are workouts, but I found White Collar Club more true to the concept of enduring several rounds of boxing.
Round 7 – Workout-Variety
Variety can only be seen through repetition. One of the studios mentioned here, I visited only once, the other one I signed up and went to 3 times a week.
I will say this as not to give a way my evaluation just yet that both seem repetitive. With BXO-boxing it’s the variegated course plan which will bring about variety. With White Collar Club it depends on being partnered up with different people to use your skills.
Round 8 – Workout-Application
We train boxing, not just exercising. Corporal fitness is a goal as is the effect quick reaction and coordination has on the brain. The best training is doing because no situation requires a higher reaction rate than with a non agreed punching sequence of another boxer.
White Collar Club is the clear winner of this round as sparring is an integral part of training there. After warming up with physical exercises and hitting the punching bags if you are in for it, you are paired up for partner practice. It’s plenty of fun as it is strengthening and keeping fit. Be sure you are able to take a few hits in your stomach or sides. Your good looks and face will be spared.
Round 9 – Trainer Character
Boxing is a personal sport. Ultimately, it comes down not to beating our opponent, but to self-conquer our perceived limits. The only team-mate who is exclusively on our side is our coach. If we spar or consequently compete our vis-à-vis wants to win against us.
Besides being experienced in the sport, a trainer’s character can make and break the fun and engraving part of training. A good coach in my opinion is someone who clearly sees our capabilities and improvement opportunities, someone who looks, listens, speaks and responds to us, someone who pushes us over the perceived limit and not last someone who we are not discouraged to see over and over.
At BXO-boxing two young guys teach collaboratively in a casual and lively atmosphere. They do a solid job, nevertheless the personal touch was less. At White Collar Club experienced amateur boxer Belisario coaches every class personally. He is a real character who engages in cordial and joking conversations with his students.
White Collar Club‘s Belisario sticks out with his old-school almost Rocky’s Mickey worthy coach character.
Round 10 – The Comrades-in-arms
Boxing is fun. While everybody is concentrated throughout training a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere is possible. It’s part of what makes you come back.
I have found in basically all the gyms I have been to that we are a team. Nobody is there to hurt any one. We train together, correct each other, support each other. Before, after and sometimes even during training we chat.
In BXO-boxing everyone was friendly though felt not exactly close or engaged. White Collar Club truly grouped together. It’s a group of executives working in the area. You find many interesting characters in this group and a light-headed joke was quickly on everyones lips, including the trainer. Occasionally, the group would get together in a close-by tavern on Friday nights. Sounding like a closed shop they are extremely welcoming to new additions. That’s why White Collar Club goes the full distance and wins the audiences’ favor as well as the judges’.
We made it through 10 full rounds. I made my choice. And the winner is: White Collar Club.
What made the difference for me in the end was character, old-school coaching, applied boxing. Secondary decision factors were price, travel convenience and change of scenery.
What do you opinion? Would you have come to a different weighting?