River Falls Days give local boxers chance for debut

Body: 

Nick Persico and Coty Reh will never box against each other.

The size mismatch wouldn't make sense.

Despite that truth, they were both drawn to the Peek-A-Boo Boxing Gym in River Falls by a desire to get in shape doing something that wasn't as monotonous as weight lifting.

"I needed a new way to get in shape," said Reh, a welterweight. "I was kind of tired of just lifting weights and so I found this boxing gym and so I've been doing this for a few months."

Persico had a similar pull to the boxing gym.

"I'm not really into running 5K's and running races but I needed a new way to get into shape," said Persico, a heavyweight. "I used to be pretty active playing sports in high school and college, so I needed some competition. This has a more competitive aspect to it."

After competing in the River Falls Days boxing exhibition at West Wind Supper Club -- an exhibition that hosted 17 boxing matches Sunday, July 16 -- the River Falls natives are exactly one match into their boxing careers. Both lost, but both were very much looking forward to the event.

When asked if he was nervous, Persico smirked and said, "Yes, of course."

Reh was more stoic when asked the same question, saying, "No, not really. It's just going to be fun."

Owner of the gym and trainer, Boyd Davis, said he saw right through that stoicism.

"He'll say he isn't nervous, but as soon as he sees his opponent, he'll start getting nervous," Davis said. "That's just how it goes."

Davis also trains professional boxers and is a decorated boxer himself. He said the nerves are automatic at the early stages of the career, but that's all part of the learning process.

"A lot of the new guys that are just starting to fight, it takes time to develop. I love taking that time," Davis said. "I love working with them and I enjoy watching them grow. It helps them a lot with their discipline for training, eating, and everything."

That discipline is the main selling point for Reh.

"I was in an argument with my roommate the other day about boxing. She said she wouldn't ever do it because it's too aggressive," Reh said. "But it's actually the exact opposite. In boxing you need to be calm and keep it together. You can't be too aggressive and go after the other guy."

And when you're alone in the ring with your opponent, getting too aggressive isn't something you want to do because the adrenaline rush of losing isn't the same as winning.

"It's hard to compare (the adrenaline rush) to any other sport," said Persico, who played football at the University of Dubuque. "My favorite part really is the competition. I like to do things where I have a chance to win. It's definitely a rush."

A rush both Reh and Persico have now each experienced, though likely not ever in the ring at the same time.