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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Sunday, April 02, 2017

No Holds Barred: Tricia Arcaro Turton on Boxing, Poetry, and Politics 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Tricia Arcaro Turton, the owner and head coach of Arcaro Boxing.

A former pro and amateur boxer as well as a rugby player, the gym she now runs in Seattle, Washington, is known not only for training boxers of many ages and levels of experience, but also as a cultural center for the community.

"I just tend to interact in my community. Whether it be a person on the street or the grocery store clerk or a business owner, I just tend to really enjoy people and what they do," she said by phone Friday.

"And I wanted my gym to kind of be a barbershop kind of feeling. I wanted people to come here and be able to chill out and relax and be themselves, no matter what their background was, whether they were a high-level corporate person, or whether they were a struggling person just trying to make ends meet.

"I felt like, boxing gyms are the place where everything's equal. You get in the ring and it doesn't matter who your dad or mom is. It's just you in there and you have to defend yourself, they have to defend themselves, and you get to push each other."

Interacting with the community has meant that the gym has also held events featuring spoken-word poets, who perform their works in a boxing ring. Both the arts of poetry and boxing are interrelated, she said, since they both allow people to express themselves. In addition, these events have brought to the gym "a different group of people", thus exposing each group to the other's art.

It has long been known that boxing is a metaphor for life, but again new ground is being broken here. One person who trains at the gym, Nikkita Oliver, is a political activist, teacher, and attorney, who has worked with Black Lives Matter. She has announced that she is running for mayor of Seattle representing the newly-formed Peoples Party of Seattle.

Tricia Arcaro Turton is actively supporting Nikkita Oliver's campaign, which has its official mayoral launch party April 2.

We also discussed how she got involved with boxing, the role of many trailblazers in women's boxing, the importance of boxing for self-defense, why "boxing is a sport that transcends all labels", boxing and the LGBTQ community, and much more.

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