Kristen McMurtree turned to boxing after struggling with bullying throughout high school. She started out as a track and cross-country runner but said the harassment became “so bad” she decided to quit the team.
But a boxing lesson during gym class helped her refocus her energy.
McMurtree has recently taken over as head coach of UB’s boxing club. She is a product of the club and was trained by the original founder, Dean Eoannou. She became the club’s first National Golden Glove champion under the direction of Eoannou.
Kristen McMurtree, a 20-year-old, signature red hair 112-pound champion, stands out as the club’s leader.
Boxing was once her “escape” and now as the head of the club, she wants to help influence others.
“I was angry and I was kind of lost and I just fell into boxing,” McMurtree said. “I see what this club does for so many kids and I see how I’m supposed to be used to help these kids and build that family and build that safe haven that I had in the very beginning.”
She signed up for her first boxing club, but wasn’t there for long before she transferred to UB’s club because of Eoannou and the reputation he built. In his tenure as the head of the club, Eoannou coached over 30 Golden Gloves champions.
McMurtree struggled to get the coach’s attention at first. Eoannou placed a larger emphasis on fighters that had proved their dedication.
Members of the club said this is one of the biggest differences in Eoannou’s and McMurtree’s…