Norwin girls take on boxing


Gabby Andrykovich practicing sparring with her mother at the Pittsburgh Martial Arts and Boxing Academy.

Two students from Norwin High School have an uncommon hobby: boxing. Gabrielle Andrykovitch (junior) and Gabriela Cooper (freshman) have been boxing for a while. Andrykovitch started boxing in her freshman year at Pittsburgh Martial Arts and Boxing Academy, and Cooper started in 2018 at USS Fight Academy

Boxing helps these girls feel stronger mentally and physically, which would make them more confident. Practicing how to defend themselves is something very beneficial. Cooper would spend every other day training at the gym to stay mentally and physically fit. 

In order to gain skills they have to train multiple times a week with experienced coaches.

“I train 3 times a week, and most of the time I do lifting after,” said Andrykovich. “I go to Pittsburgh martial arts and boxing academy, owned by Coach Bob Barnum.” 

The girls box for strength and enjoyment, not to compete like a lot of other boxers.

“I was close to competing but decided it was not for me,” said Cooper. 

“I do not compete, but I do spar at my gym with the other people that go there,” said Andrykovich. “There weren’t many fights in the time I’ve been training for Covid reasons, but recently there have been a couple.” 

Cooper said her best memory of boxing was when she had the opportunity to fight a grown man.

“When I was about 14 I decided that I would fight a five foot ten grown man and push my boundaries,” said Cooper. “He ended up with a bleeding mouth and nose. I left with bruises and blood everywhere. That was the day we laughed and cried and laughed some more. I would not have changed it for the world.”

Andrykovitch training at Pittsburgh Martial Arts and Boxing Academy.

Andrykovitch said her best memory was sparring for the first time.

“I was going against primarily grown men because there aren’t any other women who spar at my gym,” Andrykovitch said. “I just felt so proud of myself that I was able to keep up and put in rounds against people a lot bigger and stronger than me. Sometimes it’s hard to gage your strength and how good you are at the sport when there aren’t people who are in your weight class or even the same gender as you that will spar, so I actually got used to comparing myself to these men. So seeing myself keeping up with them and actually succeeding made me very proud of myself.” 

     For these girls boxing is more than just a hobby or sport, for them boxing is a way to build connections and make memories that will last a lifetime.