Craig Tooman's fists are up, his feet positioned and his eyes intent on his opponent. He takes a deliberate swing and then quickly returns to position. A second later, he leans back, narrowly missing contact with his opponent's glove flying straight toward his chin.
It's a Saturday, but Tooman hopes the adrenaline rush from the day's rounds of sparring will carry him through the week when he returns to Cutsogeorge Tooman & Allen Architects PC, the New York City-based firm where he's a partner. "[Boxing] allows you to release tension in a way that the business world does not allow," says Tooman. "When I leave here, I feel both exhilarated and absolutely exhausted." That feeling, as well as the confidence he has gained from the sport, have kept Tooman, 43, coming back to Gleason's Gym for 10 years now.
Although 70 percent of the New York City gym's members are white-collar workers, it's far from glitzy or glamorous. The floors are uncarpeted, and cockroaches scale the walls. "We're not becoming yuppified," says Bruce Silverglade, owner and president. "We're still what we are-a fight gym."
The clientele at Gleason's is not unusual. Boxing is increasingly being adopted by entrepreneurs, and countless other gyms have joined the fight. Miriam Maltagliati, founder of Knit New York, a full-service knitting store and coffee bar, boxes five days a week at Trinity Boxing Club, a white-collar boxing gym in New York City. Maltagliati, 34, revels in the sport. Not only has she learned a new skill, but she has also found an outlet for her stress. "It's perfect for entrepreneurs," she says. "People who start a business have to have amazing stamina mentally and physically, because they have to believe they can make it. There's something similar in boxing because it's so physically grueling."