Meet The Restaurant Owner Who Started A Boxing Club To Unite His Staff

Rafael Jimenez Rivera wanted to make more than just a boxing club, but a place for his employees to come together.

So he started his Bodega Boxing Club to help his restaurant employees, Bodega Kitchen & Cocktails, stay in shape. The boxing club has been going strong for four months. It operates out of another business, Velez Martial Arts, aiming to keep the Sacramento area’s hospitality workers healthy. Rivera is a massive boxing fan, particularly admiring Mike Tyson. As he grew, Rivera developed an interest in Muay Thai. But he was still passionate about setting up a boxing club for his health; the rest was history. 

“I’m 45. I have two kids. I want to make sure that I’m here for them for a while. A lot of industry people, they’re dying younger than they should because a lot of them don’t take care of themselves. They live hard, play hard, and I think that part of the industry was glamorized. But the other part is taking care of yourself,” Rivera said

The club usually has 3-5 members training on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. The aim is to increase that to three to four times per week. Participants learn how to throw punches, combinations, and even spar. The club also had a social benefit in keeping his employees in good spirits.

“It’s nice sparring and having that tête-à-tête going back and forth. It’s like bartending almost, you know, because bartenders are going back and forth with the customer. It’s not a battle, but it’s fun and it’s engagement,” Rivera added

For more information on how to get involved, check out their Instagram page below.

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