Boxing gym focuses on learning and having fun

By Julian Melton

NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

A street fight is uncoordinated, has no rules and is normally caused by a prior altercation between two or more people. They can also be dangerous since fighters lack protection.

Coach Harold Cook works with Christina Gates-Idem on her technique. (Photo by Chioke Brown, NCCU photographer)

Boxing, on the contrary, is a strategic combat sport in which two trained athletes showcase their skill in the ring. People interested in the sport can train under Coach Herald Cook on Ramseur Street at Back 2 Basics Gym.

Coach Cook, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, began boxing in 1972 under the guidance of his uncles who grew up boxing. Cook picked up the sport in order to stay out of trouble, and soon began developing a passion for teaching/helping others as he became a better-skilled fighter.

As a USA Boxing Certified Trainer, Cook has been teaching the fundamentals of boxing for about ten years.

After moving from Ohio to North Carolina because of the nice weather, Cook opened his own boxing gym at 803-D Ramseur St. in March 2011.

During training, Cook stresses the importance of strengthening the mind as well as body of his clients, and also establishes tailored fitness programs for each client.

“[I am] focused on teaching clients how to box and helping them achieve their fitness goals with individualized workouts,” says Cook. He uses the phrase, “learning, burning and having fun.”

Classes are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Training is offered for all ages and all levels of fitness and the first class is free.

Cook says that his gym benefits the community because “the youth have a place to go work out and occupy their minds in a positive way through exercise and fitness.”

Boxing is more than a sport to Cook; it can also prepare a person for the battles to be faced in everyday life.

“Boxing parallels life because in life you will have certain challenges that you have to be prepared to meet,” says Cook.

Clients at the gym see Cook as a mentor as well as an instructor. He is a strong advocate for education and pushes his younger clients to strive for greatness in the gym as well as academically. About 20 clients currently train at Back 2 Basics, but after the local football season is over, that number will swell as area youth come back to train as well.

Cali Dixon is an amateur boxer from Los Angeles who is training under Coach Cook. He plans on going pro.

“Focus, motivation and structure” is what attracted him to boxing. Fighters have to last in the ring over a series of one to three minute rounds, and Dixon emphasized that isn’t possible without stamina.

“He is one of the greatest men I know,” said Dixon about Coach Cook. “For him to present a positive and beneficial opportunity like boxing to the inner-city youth is admirable.”

The gym is an opportunity for all ages to get in better shape and provide a positive outlet for area youth.

“Since the start of this gym, I’ve learned that no matter where I go I will either be responsible for what is going on in my community or sit back and talk about it,” said Cook, who also believes he learns as much from his clients as they learn from him.

In order to get in contact with Coach Cook or to sign up for training visit the website at or by email at or by telephone at (919) 617-6269.

One thought on “Boxing gym focuses on learning and having fun

  1. My grandfather was a boxer and he always believed in the sport’s ability to keep kids in shape and out of trouble. It’s great to see others out there spreading that same message and helping support our youth.

Comments are closed.