The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Case of the Missing Punahou Boxing Ring

Punahou School Archives
Boxing Club photo from the 1930 edition of the Oahuan

Join the Punahou boxing club! It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and learn self-defense. The Punahou boxing club is now being taught by Willie Whittle; yes, Whittle, as in the UH professional boxer. The club meets two times a week for classes, but they train every day at the new open-air boxing ring right behind Armstrong Hall.

Thinking about joining? Well, sorry to disappoint, but it might be a little too late for that. Not because the season is over, but because the Punahou boxing club was created in 1930 and disbanded in 1931.

When I found a mysterious label of a boxing ring on an old Punahou School map, I rushed to Kumu Kylee at the archives. We did some digging together to knock out my burning questions.

I first wondered where the boxing ring was. The 1930 Oahuan shared that the open-air boxing ring was built behind Armstrong Hall. Armstrong Hall was located near what is now the boys’ locker room and the health center ramp.

Secondly, who built the ring and why? A small section of the December 1929 Star-Bulletin and the 1930 Oahuan held the answer for my research. The ring was built by 75 Punahou student volunteers upon recommendations from the athletic directors. The project received great support from former academy principal Victor Aitken. Aitken was a former inter-collegiate boxing champion of the Pacific Coast. According to the Honolulu Advertiser in February 1930, he was a total “nut” for boxing!

So, did Principal Aitken coach the boxing club boys? Although many expected him to, according to the June 8, 1930 Honolulu
Advertiser, the club was coached by two Schofield army boxers: Pepper Martin and Tiger Connell. Towards the middle of the
school year, Martin and Connell were replaced by local boxing champion Willie Whittle. The 1930 Oahuan says that Whittle’s ideas were different from Martin and Connell’s, but the boys progressed their boxing skills nevertheless. Charles Finkboner was the student manager and organized many exhibition matches for the club.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important question of all: why did the boxing club disband? Here’s the big blow: according to the March 9, 1931 edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, only eight boys were turning out regularly to the club. The Punahou Box-
ing Club started the 1929-1930 school year with about thirty boys. The numbers began to dwindle the year after until the club had to disband. It is unknown when the boxing ring was deconstructed, but it did not take more than a few years for the boxing ring to disappear from the Punahou School maps.

Punahou is over one hundred years old. Every single part of campus has its own unique history. 92 years ago, the health center steps and boy’s locker room were occupied by thirty enthusiastic boys of the Punahou boxing club. The boxing club was short-lived, lasting only a year; the boxing ring followed suit and disappeared shortly afterward. Still, the boxing ring and boxing club both live on as we celebrate the campus history of Punahou School.

This story was originally published in Ka Punahou‘s 2023 print issue “Stone & Flow,” which you can view in its print form with additional photos and content by visiting

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