Roseville Road’s Balboa babes


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PUNCHING UP PASSION: Maria Chu’s female only boxing sessions are a knock-out success

PUNCHING UP PASSION: Maria Chu’s female only boxing sessions are a knock-out success

‘Female only’ boxing class is a big hitter

Thirty-five-year-old Thai trainer Maria Chu has got women of all ages running ‘Rocky style’ up and down flights of stairs after their vigorous boxing session at her ‘female only’ class on Roseville Road in Leeds.

The super fit mother-of-one says that her Thai boxing classes, on  Sundays at Kiatphontip Gym, are becoming a ‘real hit’ with Asian women in particular, swapping their hijabs for high kicks, in order to gain confidence and get fighting fit.

Maria said: “I’ve been training for 28 years, after my first fight at the age of seven. I was drawn in by the discipline and the techniques. It’s one of the best stand-up sports you can do.

“For our Sunday class, the ladies do a small warm up. Then I teach them how to shadow box which involves learning how to punch, knee and elbow.  After that, they partner up and do some rounds on the pads and practice their kicks, followed by a cool down.”

However, some women are just warming up and instead of taking part in gentle stretching exercises before they leave for home, they decide that they haven’t sweated enough and begin to pound up and down the staircases like Rocky Balboa.

“The women say that they feel hugely self-assured and positive after a good boxing session. It’s so lovely to watch them transform from being rather shy and unfit to superwomen who can take on anything.”

Around 40 ladies attend Maria’s classes on the top floor of a beautiful old building.

Maria said: “I like to help people in the sport, whether it’s for self defence; general fitness, toning up or gaining more confidence. There are many different reasons each lady comes to train.

"My husband Jompop is also a professional fighter from Thailand. We take our fighters all around the world for competitions and we have a bunch of up-and-coming talents that will be names to watch out for in the future."

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