Sometimes, when you want to draw people towards something (in this case, boxing), you need to talk to them about things related to that sport rather than about the sport itself.
I understood this when I started teaching box to young boys and girls. It is true, some kids come into my gym determined to box, sometimes they stay, other times they give up along the way. Usually, it is the emotional commitment that keeps a child connected to the sport he practices. The stronger the bond between the sport and the student, the more chances are they become great boxers. I personally believe that the best way of convincing my students from giving up boxing is to keep them around enough for them to feel that if they give up, they lose something that they made efforts to achieve. Therefore, before you start training your new students get to know them a bit and approach their training from the one point you consider to be a breach through which you can build a direct connection between them and boxing.
In my case, the hardest to keep are kids sent to my gym by their parents. They don’t have the same will to carry on their training like those who decide to start because they want it. However, I’ve also learnt that some of these kids have great boxing abilities. If you manage to make your students understand that they are good and can even become great in time, chances are that they continue practicing. If they reach a higher level, you win them over.
In some other cases, I just try to reason with their parents to let their kids do something else because the gym is really not the place where they should be. Not because they couldn’t box, I believe that we are all born with some physical skills that can be improved in many directions, but I don’t want them to come into training forced, when they made it clear they want to be someplace else no matter how positive their evolution. I had such a case, a boy that was really gifted in boxing, but wanted to become a figure skater and his father insisted that was a girls’ sport and he should take on boxing instead. He was unhappy with this, so I had to have a talk with his parents, explain them that figure skating was as much of a tough sport as boxing was and that their boy would do a much better job if he was allowed to choose for himself.
Anyway, long story short, if you want to have new students, offer them something else besides physical training in the beginning. Tell them boxing stories, give them books about boxing, make a special lesson about boxing equipment: how boxing gloves evolved, who wore them, interesting or funny facts, ask them about their favorite boxing movies, explain them that boxing is not only a punching sport – whatever works. You’ll see that most of them will appreciate this approach much more than the traditional one.