Photographer Jano Cohen, if she thought about it at all, had always considered boxing to be a sport that glorified much that she disdains—violence and brutality and anger. She found it incomprehensible for two people to beat each other senseless in front of a crowd of onlookers. “Hitting each other so hard like that,” Cohen says, “doesn’t speak kindness to me.”
So it was with some trepidation that Cohen found herself, in November 2015, with her camera, at West Philadelphia's James Shuler Boxing gym; and it is with some wonder that she found herself returning, for more than a year, to photograph the boxers, learning to admire their physicality and joy, their competition and sweat—and even, in a way, to admire the sport of boxing itself. "There is," Cohen says, "real beauty in their movement. I love to watch that."