02.12 Boxer Erin Johnson

Love at First Punch
By Kim Dunbar

If trying new things is part of your 2012 resolution, talk to Erin Johnson. Seven months ago, the 25-year-old Shrewsbury native tried a boxing class and is now training for her first match this spring.

“It’s a new experience,” Johnson said. “I never thought at 25 I’d ever do it, but sometimes you try something and fall in love with it.”

Johnson, a night ER nurse at UMass, grew up with five siblings, including three older brothers who may have helped their sister prepare for her future hobby. “I was sparring at age five,” Johnson joked.

It’s Johnson’s tight family and focus on time management that allows her to juggle a full-time job, budding boxing career and long list of future goals. “I’m a go getter,” Johnson said. “Life’s too short, you’ve got to fit it all in!”

Johnson knows that with such dedication comes sacrifice (mostly in her social life), but the benefits are worth it. “I feel better,” she explained. “I’m more in shape and mentally sharper. I have a lot more discipline and focus and am more self-motivated.”

Johnson currently trains with Bonnie Lefrak and Mike Culbert at Fitness Asylum, but also runs and uses kettlebells. She’ll be intensifying this routine to prepare for her boxing debut and plans to participate in the Give Kids a Fighting Chance event created by the Worcester Police Department Gang Unit, an event Johnson is looking forward to.

“Especially where I work, I see kids who don’t get all they should in life,” she said. “I love this cause and look forward to helping raise money and awareness for it.”

Johnson said with training, she’ll be ready for her first bout in the ring. “I want to prove I can do it,” she said. “It takes a lot of work. But if I can do it, I will kind of feel like I can do anything.”

Photo by Kristen Williams