Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 7, 2023 - Joak Leaves

Manchester to Introduce Men’s, Women’s Chess Boxing Teams

Tristen Bronaugh

Manchester will introduce men’s and women’s chess boxing this fall to attract a new demographic of students.

The University is adding chess boxing to its athletic program to become polarizing in the chess boxing collegiate scene. The athletic department unanimously decided to join six other schools in the Hoosier Heartland Athletic Conference to start a chess boxing program.

What is chess boxing? Chess boxing was invented in the early 70s by a French comic book artist. It was until a few years later that the sport was brought to life by the Dutch as they organized small chess boxing events.

In chess boxing, fighters compete in 11 three-minute rounds alternating between boxing and chess. All the rules from the individual sports still apply. Competitors win by getting a knockout, a checkmate, or a judge’s decision.

In the past year, the sport rose in popularity within the United States, with celebrities and influencers holding chess boxing events to raise money for charity.

“This is a sport that combines two of the toughest sports a person can compete in,” said Andre White. Assistant track and field coach White was named head coach for the Spartans chess boxing team.

White continued: “It requires you to be at your physical best but also at your sharpest mentally. It’s nice to see the sport get some spotlight; chess boxing was my favorite season in high school.”

White competed for his High School’s chess boxing program all four years, winning back-to-back state titles his junior and senior years in the 155 weight class.

How do students feel about the new program? Senior Brooke Bouwens is sad that it didn’t happen sooner. “I was thrilled when I heard the school was starting a chess boxing program,” she said. “Growing up, my parents would watch chess boxing, so I always would watch, and I grew to fall in love with the sport but never had the opportunity to play; I wish I had one more year to try it out.”

Junior Micah Fourman is confident he will be a top contender in the HCAC. “As soon as I heard we were getting a chess-boxing program, I knew I would be a great fit,” Fourman said.

“I have been playing chess all my life, so I’m excited to show my skills; I’m relatively new to boxing, but I know I will get the hang of it.”

Senior Cayden Holley thinks it is ridiculous. “I don’t really understand why we are getting involved in such a ludicrous sport.” he counties. “If the people want to play chess and box, why don’t we just make two separate programs?”

As students have mixed reviews about the program, our Athletic Department is excited about the addition.

“I believe this new program is going to attract a lot of attention to Manchester,” said Sports Information Director Erin Hickle. “The athletic department noticed the rise of the sport early on. We decided that it would be beneficial to get involved now and become a pioneer of the sport by helping it grow at the collegiate level.”

With the programming starting in the fall, the University has halted its plans to build an indoor track facility and shifted toward preparing construction for a chess boxing facility.

The University is calling it The Spartan Coliseum. The Coliseum will stand where the old football field is.

“The blueprints are very early right now; we only have the ring and the training room laid out and designed,” said White.

The University named White as the construction manager of the operation. “It sucks that my track guys are going to have to wait a little longer for a track, but I want this chess boxing program to be the best in the conference, and to do that, we need the right facilities,” White said.

With the new facility, Manchester would be the first school in the HCAC to have a chess-boxing facility. “Our hope for the Spartan Coliseum is to be a main host for collegiate chess boxing in the future,” White said.

Manchester plans to break ground in Spring and hopes to finish construction in early August.

For more information about Spartan chess boxing, Coach White will hold a call-out meeting on April 14 at 6 p.m. in the PERC.