Doraville boxing gym teaches kids life lessons

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When Evelyn Servin decided she wanted to get into a new activity, her first thought was modeling. No, she thought, that wasn't for her. She needed a sport.

"All my brothers and sisters, they all did soccer," Servin said. "I wanted to do something different."

Servin settled on boxing, taking classes at Sweet Science Fitness in Doraville. About seven months later, as her jabs gel and guard gets better, she's found herself feeling more confident outside the ring as well.

"I actually did get bullied when I was small," she said. "I got kicked around because I wore glasses and I was kind of chubby. Now I know I can do something and be confident about it."

That's the idea, says gym owner Marty Hill. It's not just about bullying, he says, and certainly not just a place to learn how to physically fight back if you're picked on. Hill says he wants to teach his clients, especially in his classes for kids, lessons like confidence, discipline and self-awareness.

"What you do in school, what you do at home, what you do with your parents, your coworkers," Hill said. "The more you play well with others, the more out of life that you'll get. Boxing is the same exact way."

Kids in the class are well aware that the boxing skills they are learning aren't for use on their friends at school.

"Not everything is about hitting and punching," 13-year-old Edgar Almeida said. "I learned that everything is also friendly, family and positive."

Hill used to work in the corporate world, but now takes those lessons into his gym.

"The boxing ring is a negotiating ring, the boxing ring is a board room," said Hill.

As for Servin, she hopes to keep boxing, keep improving her skills and continue feeling good about her newfound sport.

"When you get down, you get back up, be more confident," said Servin.