Lissa Keppner was born and raised in Southern California. She moved to Georgia when she was 19 and to Athens in 2013. She was a competitive fighter from 2006-2009, competing in kickboxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts, and retired with approximately twenty fights under her belt. Lissa is a classically trained violinist and plays in the Athens Symphony. She is the co-owner, COO and CFO of Keppner Boxing with her husband Keith Keppner. They live on the Eastside of Athens with their daughter, Layna and dogs, Ziggy and Chiquita.
What inspired or led you to your current career?
I was managing my coach’s gym in Alpharetta for many years where I had also trained in Muay Thai Boxing and MMA when I met Keith in 2011. He was coaching, had injured his neck so he was no longer boxing. He was kind of run down by life, I was also kind of run down by life, working hard and not really getting anywhere as well as struggling with ongoing heath issues. I had just gone back to school at the time. I was going to study nutrition, and I got through all my prerequisites and went to go into my program, but I missed my deadline because some misguidance from a guidance counselor. Turns out it was one of those things that was meant to be. I had about a year to figure out what I wanted to do. I had been competing in powerlifting at the time since 2009after having to retire from fighting due to health issues. Unfortunately, in early 2012, I injured my lower back. I started getting more into the boxing over the following months and ended up making a brief comeback in 2012 until my health issues once again forced me into retirement. While I was training under Keith, he was coaching out of another gym and decided to go out on his own. I gave him a lot of guidance from afar, but I still lived out in Gwinnett. I ended up moving up to Athens and pretty much taking over the business from there. For all of 2013 and 2014, we were out on Commerce Road and had a 1200 sq. ft. facility and had just that ring and some bags. We packed in about seventy-five members. At that point, we upgraded our space over to Baxter Street, and it was about 2500 square feet but outgrew that, and now we’ve been in our new space on Lexington Road since July 2017. It is 6,000 square feet and we have about three hundred members.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you love there?
I really love Taste of India. My favorite thing there is probably the Malai Kofta, and they are just great people there too. Another one of my favorites is The Grit. I am not vegetarian, but I just don’t eat a lot of meat. At the Grit, I love their falafel wrap.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Honestly, this is really funny, but I would probably just travel back to Southern California. I have been having a lot of health problems lately, and the dry weather is really helpful, plus I love being by the ocean. Right now I guess I am just looking for more familiarity and comfort and so I would say I would probably just travel back to my home state and hometown.
What is your favorite movie right now?
I don’t have an all time favorite movie, but I am really into the Disney stuff right now because my daughter is and it is nostalgic for me too. So, it is kind of cool to watch some of the new ones, but also revisit the old ones since they have all the old ones coming out in live action. My favorite current one is Beauty and the Beast, the new live action one. I am looking forward to the Little Mermaid too because that was my favorite one growing up.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To be patient, and to not compare yourself and not to compare yourself with other people’s timelines. I was not really established until after I was thirty and not feeling like I was financially secure and independent until after I was thirty was daunting. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, when they are getting married, when they are having kids, if they are going to college, how much money they are making. Focus on your own timeline, and just be patient.
If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be?
Don’t quit before the miracle happens.
If you could see any band or show anywhere, dead or alive, who would it be and where?
I would see Dream Theater. Apparently they were playing in Atlanta on my birthday and we had no idea or else my husband would have bought tickets for it. So I would go back in time and see Dream Theatre on my birthday in Atlanta.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
It is funny, but I guess a lot of people still don’t know that I actually did have fights. I kind of like that. Keith made a collage back on Baxter Street with a bunch of pictures of me in fights and competitions and stuff like that, and people would be like wait oh that is you? Also, that I actually was studying music in college as a performance major before I moved to GA.
What are three words or phrases that come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Love, support and unity