SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – A South Strand boxing academy is trying to bring families together by having them fight.

Todd “The Punisher” Poulton is a former celebrity boxer who runs Southpaw’s Boxing Academy off Glenns Bay Road just outside of Surfside Beach. Shortly after the pandemic began, he started family boxing nights to unite them through hard work.

Fewer people are allowed to train at the same time and there are temperature checks at the front door.

“With COVID and with all these rotten things going on in our country right now, I said let’s try to get the family unit tighter through the sport of boxing and exercise,” he said.

2020 has made a lot of us want to punch something, but try doing it against your parents.

“It’s fun! It’s fun and they get to hit their mother and not get in trouble,” laughed Cathy Bennett, who works out with her sons Nicholas and Joseph.

Kipton Morris tried boxing and convinced his father Bradley Daniels to join him.

“He’s tried basketball, he’s tried soccer, he’s done a lot of different things,” said Daniels, who’s from Surfside. “He’s loved it! He’s been with it for a couple months and actually got me involved and got me coming to it and it’s an incredible workout.”

Poulton says he was motivated to start Southpaw’s after his battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder made him suicidal. The Western Massachusetts native opened the academy in 2017.

“The Punisher” says when he first tried boxing as a teen, he would have loved the opportunity to spar with his father James, who’s a U.S. Army veteran. James Poulton, however, worked three jobs and didn’t have the time to ever try the sport his son loved. Many years later, James and “The Punisher’s” other family members are also part of family boxing nights.

Donna Poulton, who’s “The Punisher’s” mother, says the exercising has helped with her osteoporosis.

“We think it’s been a really great thing for Todd’s academy,” she said. “Having the families involved is really great to see that.”

The families also get to learn from some more experienced fighters, like C.J. Daymiel, who joined Southpaw’s about four months ago.

“What families are going to be able to learn the most is hard work and what boxing really is,” Daymiel said. “It’s not just about fighting.”

Alan Lucas also joined Southpaw’s a few months ago after hearing a friend trained there.

“I think it’s just good to get [kids] out of the house, off the couches and get some physical work in, especially with their families,” said Lucas, who’s from Socastee.

Whether they’re practicing on the punching bag or just getting in some cardio, the families who are training at Southpaw’s say they have their own reasons for why they’re stepping in the ring together.

“We’ve always been interested because we watch it on TV and where we came from, boxing wasn’t available,” said Sara Muench, who’s from Murrells Inlet.

“I never thought I’d be doing it,” said Susan Muench, who’s Sara’s mother. “I thought I’d be doing yoga with the other older women, but nah!”

The family boxing nights are every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 to 8.