Germaine Robinson said she loves boxing, but she never thought she would be involved with the fight game. Robinson’s love for the sport and some strong family ties led her to do what no other woman has done before – open the first female owned and operated gym in Maryland.
Members of the Uppercut Boxing Gym in Adelphi, Md. (Courtesy Photo)
The Uppercut Boxing Gym has locations at the Langley Park Boys and Girls Club (1515 Merrimac Drive) in Adelphi and her headquarters location at 5000A Wabash Avenue in Baltimore.
Open since February, Robinson’s gym is building a reputation as the place to be for fighters in Baltimore and Prince George’s County. The Prince George’s County location provides an opportunity for the program to flourish in a heavily Hispanic community where fighting remains one of the most popular sports. Their slogan of “Guns Down! Fists Up,” tells you the vision Robinson has for the future.
“My brother was a fighter and he owned a gym and we used to teach kids to read before we would let them box,” Robinson said. “Pretty soon we had a lot of kids. My brother Tyrone Solomon had a few mishaps in his life and I just took over. He wanted to be able to give something back to his son (Tavon) who also is a boxer. People didn’t trust him, but they trusted me and he no longer wanted to fight. I just took over from there. We want to provide more than just a place to fight. We want to help these youths change their lives.”
Shortly after that, Robinson was out recruiting coaches and collecting boxers. As the word spread, so did the fact that there was this woman who had a building providing a haven for youth and a place for aspiring fighters to grow and train. Nobody seems to care that Uppercut is still seeking funding for additional equipment such as extra boxing gloves and headgear. Most are content with a professional ring, some seasoned fight instructors, and a place to train in peace and tranquility.
Robinson said no one took her seriously until she began working with USA Boxing South Atlantic, an amateur boxing association. The first show is scheduled in Langley Park for August while Uppercut holds weekly club matches every Wednesday at its Baltimore location. She held her grand opening on May 20. There are about 20 members currently with new people joining each week, she said.
“No one took me seriously until I got a gym,” Robinson said. “Everyone is coming to my gym now. We even have a female boxer. We have a couple of fighters that are really good and are going places.”
Uppercut Trainer Leon Wallace said Robinson is the perfect sports matriarch for youth who sometimes need a tender hug or words of encouragement. “When she speaks around here, people listen,” Wallace said. “A lot of people that come into the gym, this is their last shot. The older guys help the younger guys so they can make it. She is the glue that keeps everything together.”