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West Campus alumnus Dr. Amar Sandhu enjoys ‘Rocky’ experience in charity boxing match

Dr. Sandhu laces up the gloves at his practice.
Dr. Sandhu posing with boxing gloves

When Abbottsford, B.C., native Amar Sandhu, D.C. (West '12), returned to Canada last year to establish a practice in Victoria, where he didn't know many people, the former co-captain of the Palmer Pride ice hockey team took an "outside the box" approach to building community awareness about the new doctor in town by lacing up the gloves and stepping into the ring—of the boxing variety.

Dr. Sandhu was one of 24 members of the Victoria community who accepted the challenge to participate in the "Fight 4 the Cause" fundraiser held Dec. 8, 2012, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. The 12-bout "social boxing" event featured men and women who were bravely stepping into the ring for the first time.

The black-tie event rolled out the red carpet (literally), and drew more than 500 people for an elegant evening of fine dining and Vegas-style entertainment, including costumed dancers and live music. Single-ticket guests paid $45, and groups of eight doled out $1,100 for a ring-side table and fourcourse dinner. By the end of the evening, more than $16,000 was raised for three local charities.

Participants actually had to pay for the privilege of getting punched; however, various local businesses covered the $1,000 entry fee for each participant, which covered their training costs at Studio 4 Athletics. Dr. Sandhu was sponsored by Dr. John Douglas at Aria Health and Wellness Clinic in Victoria, where Dr. Sandhu has practiced since September.

"I had multiple motivations for entering the event," says Dr. Sandhu, who earned his B.S. in kinesiology from the University of Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada, prior to initiating his chiropractic studies at Palmer's West Campus.

"I wanted to get in better shape, promote my practice, promote the health benefits of chiropractic care, and support the local charities," he says. Dr. Sandhu's pre-fight training regimen included eight weeks of early-morning, intensive "contender bootcamp" training from Monday to Saturday, thrice-weekly adjustments, and a strict sugar-free diet.

"By the end of the ‘boot camp' training, I'd dropped nearly 20 pounds (from 194 to 177), and although the training pushed me to the point of total exhaustion, it actually raised my energy level at the office," says Dr. Sandhu, who was inspired to pursue a chiropractic career while playing high school hockey in Abbotsford, where his coach also happened to be a local chiropractor— Dr. Todd Marshall (West '99).

All participating punchers wore protective head gear and used 16-ounce gloves. Each bout of the Boxing B.C.-sanctioned event featured three two-minute rounds. Although Dr. Sandhu's opponent had a four-inch height advantage, he won his bout, which included three "standing eight counts."

"I've played years of elite-level hockey, and played in hundreds of games, but I don't think I've ever experienced anything as physically and aerobically intensive as boxing," says Dr. Sandhu, who played three seasons on the Palmer Pride ice hockey team and also was a member of the West Campus Sports Council.

Dr. Sandhu isn't ruling out a return to the ring. However, for now, he's content using his hands to adjust rather than jab, which includes providing chiropractic care for his boxing coach, who is now training for a kickboxing event in May. "My hands are my livelihood, so I have to be careful," he says. "However, as shown by the number of (Fight 4 the Cause) participants our office treated, getting adjusted helps to ensure optimal condition and performance before they step into the ring. Now, in addition to speaking as a practitioner, I can also speak from personal experience."

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