Boxers beat back age at Red Bank's Henry Luken Arena

Boxers beat back age at Red Bank's Henry Luken Arena

June 13th, 2012 by Katie Ward in Local Regional News

Many guys - no matter what their age - won't enter the ring with North Chattanooga's 180-pound boxer John Disterdick, who at 70 years old still packs a punch. Fellow boxer Jacky Godwin, 62, of East Ridge, also holds his weight in the ring at Henry Luken Arena in Red Bank, where they both practice. Godwin weighs in at 140 pounds.

Many guys - no matter what their age - won't enter the ring with North Chattanooga's 180-pound boxer John Disterdick, who at 70 years old still packs a punch. Fellow boxer Jacky Godwin, 62, of East Ridge, also holds his weight in the ring at Henry Luken Arena in Red Bank, where they both practice. Godwin weighs in at 140 pounds.

Photo by Katie Ward

Along with 200-pound newcomer Jerry Howell, 66, who is relearning the ropes, they are prepping for the Ringside World Championships, to be held in Kansas City, Mo., July 30-Aug. 4

"I'm working on a TV show called 'Redefining Age,'" said Disterdick. "It's about convincing people to get involved with activities to not only enhance their quality of life, but to save them money. It's a show to demonstrate people in boxing, triathlons, rowing and track and field. Shelly Saltsman has this show designed around masters [level] athletes."

Disterdick will interview some of his fellow masters boxers and Chattanooga Senior Olympic athletes for the show. His life's mission is to encourage more seniors to get on the go and stay young forever, he said.

From 2007-2011 Disterdick took home five Ringside World Championship belts from Kansas City in his weight class. He aims to take home his sixth belt this year. Godwin took home the Ringside World Championship belt in 2010 for his weight class. He also hopes to take home the winning belt in his class again this year.

"The competition where we go to the world championships increases every year," said Godwin. "Seven rings go in the morning and seven at night. This year we will have masters bouts for three nights."

Disterdick also holds his own in the Chattanooga Senior Olympics each year. In the 2012 games he took home 11 gold medals, six silver medals and one bronze medal in the categories of swimming, cycling, track and field, weightlifting and softball. He said his secret is training on a Concept 2 rowing machine because it works his arms, legs and back. He also swims, rows and cycles.

"Conditioning is 90 percent of boxing," said Red Bank Boxing Club head coach Skipper Fairbanks, under whom the trio practices. "I'm glad to see them [John, Jacky and Jerry] staying in shape."

Disterdick, who enlisted in the 82nd Airborne and ran track for the Army, began boxing in the military. Godwin, who grew up in Chattanooga, boxed between 150 to 180 bouts for about 15 years at the Frye Institute. Howell boxed as a student at Soddy-Daisy High School, for Red Bank Golden Gloves, then boxed in the U.S. Navy and also boxed on a scholarship as a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.