‘Cyclone Throwdown’: ISU Boxing Club to take on opponents at home event


McKenzie Stewart (Iowa State) faces off against Mackenzie Lucas (US Air Force) in the quarterfinals of the NCBA national tournament in spring 2022. Courtesy of McKenzie Stewart.

One of USA Boxing’s national chief of officials and a nationally competitive student boxer will be featured in the ISU Boxing Club’s home event Saturday. 

The event, located at State Gym near the west side basketball courts, will comprise 15 matchups with boxers from University of Iowa, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin Madison and Marquette University. Five of these matches will showcase Iowa State competitors. 

The doors will open at 1:30 p.m., half an hour before the event begins. Admission will cost $5 for students and $10 for the general public. Concessions and ISU Boxing Club merchandise will be available for purchase, including t-shirts for $15 and sweatshirts for $40. 

The money raised at the event will directly contribute to the Boxing Club’s equipment needs and competition costs, which include vehicle rentals, plane tickets and hotel bills. 

The event will be officiated by one of USA Boxing’s national chief of officials who have officiated at the last three Olympics. It will also be officiated by Brian Cosgrove, an Iowa State alum and the founder of the boxing club around 40 years ago. 

Many boxing venues feature dim lighting and dramatic spotlights, according to Cosgrove. However, Iowa State’s competition area is wide open and brightly lit. At last year’s home event, Brian remembers seeing the audience have fun throughout the day instead of sitting and waiting for each fight. 

“This is a very light-hearted atmosphere,” Cosgrove said. “It’s a happy student venue, not a bunch of old guys drinking beer.” 

Cosgrove also notes the increased safety measures that will be in place at Saturday’s event. At the collegiate level, competitors are given a series of eight counts if it looks like they are getting hit too hard, which is vastly different from professional matches. 

“Professional boxing really is about ‘how much can I hurt you,’” Cosgrove said. “There are no safety precautions. Until you’re out, they’re not gonna let you go.” 

The ISU Boxing Club has more than 50 members. Most students participate recreationally, but 10 of these members also compete. Courtesy of McKenzie Stewart.

Though the event will feature amateur boxers, it will not lack any skill or technique, according to Cosgrove, who officiates professional and national matches. 

“I’ve seen the best of the best, and there’s some really well-trained boxers at Iowa State that box almost by the book,” Cosgrove said. 

One of Iowa State’s competing boxers will be Ella Kannegiesser, the club’s vice president and a senior in architecture. Kannegiesser competes on a national level and received an All American title last year. She will face off against a student from the University of Illinois. 

“I’m feeling good,” Kannegiesser said. “I am working a lot on my mental game. I like to keep things normal and not stress myself out while also getting healthfully nervous.” 

McKenzie Stewart, the club’s president and a senior in graphic design, did not receive a matchup for Saturday’s competition but remembers what it was like to box in last year’s home event. Similar to Kannegiesser, Stewart also competes at the national level and also received an All American title last year. 

“It’s really nice to do it in our home gym because you have the support of your entire team around you instead of just your coach and the two people who decided to come along,” Stewart said. “It’s also fun to invite your friends and family because they’re closer by.” 

Each bout can last for a varying amount of time, but the event is estimated to end around 5:30 p.m. It will be live streamed on the ISU Boxing Club’s Instagram for people who cannot attend in person. 

“It’s definitely a very lively environment with a lot of screaming, but in a fun way,” Stewart said. “You don’t know what’s gonna happen next.”