Palisadians Open a Boxing Gym

By Jessie Levine
Special to the Palisades News

Everyone loves a story about folks who quit their boring day jobs to pursue their dreams. Two Palisadians, Felicia Alexander and Todd Wadler, have done just that by opening a boxing gym, Box-Union, at 1755 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica.

BoxUnion, located between Olympic and Pico, is a gym to behold. The gorgeous space boasts a clean aesthetic and top-notch everything—from the trainers and the specially designed heavy boxing bags to the carefully curated music playlists for each of the 41 classes. Clearly, a ton of thought and work went into the studio.

Felicia and Todd met in the Palisades, where they both live, and originally hatched the idea to open a boxing gym about two years ago.

Felicia Alexander and Todd Wadler own BoxUnion. Photo: Lesly Hall Photography

Felicia Alexander and Todd Wadler own BoxUnion.
Photo: Lesly Hall Photography

Prior to BoxUnion, Felicia was the VP of sales and marketing for studioD, a division of LeafGroup, and Todd was working in the investment banking industry as a senior advisor and founding partner at Moelis & Company. Each had a long-standing love for boxing as a form of physical fitness and a desire to curate their own gym space.

Todd was a boxer at Indiana University, while Felicia fondly recalls the first time she slipped on a pair of boxing gloves at age 16: “I felt confident, empowered and strong.” Her grandfather had been a boxer and she always appreciated the sport.

Growing up in San Diego, Felicia sought out her first boxing gym.“It was a total dump and I loved it. I felt like I was in Mighty Mick’s gym. My trainer, Jesse Valdez, was a 1972 Olympic bronze medalist. There were not many females walking through those doors and there were no other 16-year-olds.”

Felicia and Todd both have supportive families who encouraged them to follow their dreams. Felicia’s husband, Gregg, is a serial entrepreneur (he sold his most recent company to MindBody) and the two have a 10-year-old, Gavin, who attends Palisades Elementary. Todd and his wife, Britten, have a daughter (Drew) in fourth grade and a son (Grant) in second grade, both at Village School, where Britten is very involved.

Felicia told the Palisades News, “Todd and I looked at the fitness landscape in L.A. and saw the need for a boxing gym. The market had a void that we wanted to help fill.” And so, the two began to bring their vision to life, incorporating thoughtful touches into every nook and cranny of the concept. They sought the expertise of various industry experts, from a local branding specialist to a New York Times bestselling author on mindfulness, and thoughtfully put together the business model for BoxUnion.

The BoxUnion approach to boxing is noticeably different, incorporating elements that might seem more at home in a yoga studio, such as mindfulness and community cultivation, but that the founders believe will encourage more people to come.

“We wanted to create a warm and welcoming environment,” Felicia said. “It’s great to see a 60-year-old guy boxing next to a 20-year-old in our classes.” This inclusive community spirit, along with show-stopping design elements, sets BoxUnion apart from other boxing gyms in the area.

The classes are 45 minutes long, and are taught to music, with a “mindful moment” to begin and end each class, followed by stretching and synchronized shadow boxing to the beat to create a sense of unity and community in class.

Elements of core work and high-intensity plyometrics are also incorporated to provide an optimal workout.

While each class offering is intended for all levels, the signature class, “BoxUnion,” is more high intensity than the class “BoxU,” which slows down the movements and focuses more on boxing fundamentals. The “Box Lunch” class is a shortened weekday lunch-hour class that packs a high-energy, 30-minute workout into the busy workday.

The gym provides boxing gloves to first timers for free, and also has them available to rent. The equipment is first-class, the floors are imported and shock-absorbing, and the state-of-the-art bags are water-filled to protect the joints.

Not sure if boxing is for you? BoxUnion provides a safe space to dabble in the boxing arts.

“We really want this to be a place where people feel welcomed and accepted, where they do things that are outside of their comfort zone,” Felicia said. “We hope to see many Palisadians in the gym!”

Visit boxunion.com for more information.

One Comment

  1. Nancy Figueiredo says:

    Best of luck to you in this new endeavor. I’m sure you will be very successful

    (Michele Havens Mom)

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