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Marcum is still sparring

The 1996 Washington State Golden Gloves Winner is now a trainer and teacher at Curt's Ultimate Gym


THE OUTLOOK: MATT RAWLINGS - Gary Marcum goes through punch combinations during a one-on-one workout with Andrew Suvanvej. At one point or another in our lives, we all have dreams. We all have that one thing that we want to aspire to do in life. For Jim Marcum, that dream was to become a boxer.

Even though Marcum has been retired from competitive fighting for 15 years now, he doesn’t look like it at all. The chiseled, 47-year old southpaw has proof of his recent sparring sessions in the form of a black-and-blue welt under his left eye. Marcum has made the sport of boxing a huge part of his life, and he has taken an interesting route to where he is today.

“For me, it started out as self-empowerment,” Marcum said. “I went through my teenage years getting into a lot of fights because of my insecurity, but when I actually learned how to box at the age of 17, it gave me the confidence and structure I needed to stay away from fights in the street.”

Marcum now trains fighters’ one-on-one, as well as teaching boxing as an exercise class at Curt’s Ultimate Fitness on Halsey.

But before that, Marcum had a fighting career of his own.

Marcum joined the military in 1990, where he quickly accomplished his goal of getting on the army boxing team. However, in his first fight, he faced a near impossible task.

“I didn’t know anything about the art of making weight at the time, so I was five pounds over my desired weight class (178 lbs.) going into my first army fight, so I was forced to fight at the heavyweight division,” Marcum said.

Marcum’s first opponent was more than 30 pounds heavier — a drastic weight differential in the boxing ring.

But that didn’t matter to Marcum, especially because he ended up winning the fight.

“He pretty much beat me up the first couple rounds, but he really started to get tired in the third round and I was able to take advantage of that,” Marcum said.

Marcum ended up winning the Toughman regional championship in 2000 for the Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Northern California area. He advanced to the national competition in 2001 where he lost in the semifinals.

“I gave up competing in 2001, but I still train on a regular basis. Even though I’m 47 now, I can still beat the 22-years olds that I train and spar with individually,” Marcum said. “My personal success in my boxing career has given me the opportunity to train and teach people.”

Andrew Suvanvej, one of the fighters Marcum trains with, commented; “The guy is an absolute animal. His cardio is almost impossible to keep up with, and he barely breaks a sweat when we spar.”

Marcum teaches a boxing fitness class for women at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays.


Look for an extended story in our Tuesday, Aug. 30, print edition.