Somerville Boxing Fight For Your Future.
- Mazac Gambardella
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
- Danny J
When Anthony joined SBC in the 7th grade, the now-high school Junior was very different from the confident young man you'll see hitting the bags or the working the weight bench most days. Anthony, a middleweight fighter with two book fights and a dozen in-house fights to his credit, was overweight, shy, and in need of a place to train and thrive-- both physically and socially.
"It started as a good place to hang out," says Anthony of his early days at the club. From there, his interest in boxing evolved into the kind of dedication that shows results. "Before [the club] I was lazy. I wasn't really outgoing. I was overweight." Now five years on, he sees his membership at the club as a lifelong connection. "Over the years I've had to make priorities, and this has always been a top priority. I don't see that changing."
Anthony's success has garnered him not only self-respect, but the respect of his peers and trainers in the club. "He's one of the most dedicated kids we have here." says trainer and club President Bobby Covino. Meeting Anthony in the ring or around the club, one is impressed by his level of poise and self-possession, uncommon for someone of his years.
Anthony has reaped other rewards of training. He's achieved a high level of physical, which led to a successful on the high school football field in addition to the ring. The formerly overweight, shy middle-schooler now enjoys the pride that comes with competing as a multi-sport athlete. He credits the club and its trainers with helping him achieve this success.
Even as he enjoys his current successes, his attention is directed to future advancement. He's considering college possibilities, and hoping to establish himself as a general contractor and union member in the near future.
With all the club has meant to his development and success, he is enthusiastic when asked about what the club can do for others. For kids and adults unsure about coming down to train and box, he had this advice: "Don't think too much about it, just come down. I wasn't the kind of kid who think I'd be here five days a week. You don't have to immediately come down and get in the ring. You can just do the workout."
From there, he knows the positive environment and many benefits of the club will transform other lives as it has done for him.
- Rashidi Ellis
George is a Certified USA Boxing trainer who has worked with SBC for over five years, providing boxing instruction, conditioning tips, and mentorship to the club's growing membership. George was introduced to Stoney through friends, and quickly became part of club life.
"I'm here five days a week," he says of his time at the club, and he looks forward to every hour spent here. George came to the club during a difficult time in his life; The retired Postal Service employee and Vietnam veteran had recently lost his wife of XXX years. The club gave him a way to fill his time and do some good for the community. As it turned out, his introduction to boxing and mentorship was as good for him as it was for the youth and adult members he encountered. "I don't know where I'd be without this place," he says, thinking back on his early days as a member.
Though he'd had some experience boxing in the military, he hadn't boxed in years and had never before trained a fighter. Stoney gave him an early education in the basics of the ring, and from there George became a full-fledged trainer in his own right. He's now a licensed trainer with USA Boxing, but still values Stoney's input as much as when he first began his journey, "learning from the best."
George is looking forward to helping the next generation of trainers and boxers discover their potential in and out of the ring.
- Jalam Garcia
- Derik DeAngelo
Matt Mahoney is a familiar face in Somerville Boxing Club. A lifelong resident of Somerville and Melrose, he started coming to the club when he was only sixteen years old. His father encouraged the young man to come down and train. Like Matt, he knew the value of raising a kid who could handle himself, in or out of the ring. "Sometimes parents are hesitant to get their kids into boxing or any contact sport. The secret is, once you know how to fight, no one wants to fight you," he says with a smile.
In his nearly thirty year relationship with the club, he's seen transformations great and small-- a success he credits to the vibe at the club. "There's no judgment. A lot of boxing gyms are intimidating, especially if you're new. This gym isn't like that." He said of the sport, "It's huge confidence builder." He's seen the burst of confidence in action with members.
The former competitive boxer and lifelong club member is now beginning to help the next generation of trainers and boxers, getting working toward his Cornerman's license so he can be ringside as SBC competitors lace up the gloves at book fights and sparring events. Until then, Matt is just happy to train, hold the mitts for a fellow boxer, and chip in any way he can.
Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.
- Andrew Rivera
It’s always too early to quit.
A longtime boxing enthusiast and active club member, boxing for Darren is a way of life, and a family affair. "My whole family does it." His cousin, a pro boxer, is training for a fight in Puerto Rico at the time of interview. The excitement for Darren comes from both his family history in the ring, and his love for the club that has fostered his talent and given him a place to train, pitch in, and decompress.
"It's a place you can go to let go of some steam," He says. " I've been around boxing for a long time. I wouldn't know life without boxing." Both a member and a volunteer, Darren sees the potential for both the sport and the club to change young lives. "It brings kids a way to channel their energy into something positive. It teaches them discipline too. It's a place where you can grow." He stresses that, no matter what members are looking for, they can find their comfort zone here. Whether just training and conditioning for health, or to hone their skills for bouts in the ring, you'll find the right atmosphere and training here. "You can come and train and get some fights if you're interested in fighting." Even for those not drawn to the boxing ring, the conditioning, the positive environment, and support provided by SBC make it a great avenue for kids and adults looking to make positive change in their health and their daily lives.
As for Darren, he has his eye on the prize. A former New England Golden Gloves champion, he's eager to get back in the ring after taking a year off for other pursuits. "I want to get a title under my belt, and this is the place to do it. It's changing a lot of people's lives."
- Alex Rivera
- Isander Beauchamp
Fran Hennessey has been a member of the Somerville Boxing Club for over three years. Introduced to Stoney through mutual friends, Fran came to the club looking to help others and make a difference in the lives of the kids who came to the club. "I love helping out the kids." Though Fran didn't come from a boxing background, he found many ways to contribute his time and enthusiasm to the club. In return, he found great friends, and the fulfillment that comes from giving back to the community.
"It's a great sport," he says of boxing, "and the best conditioning you can get." Though he wasn't a boxer when he started, it's all the same to the members of SBC. Fran's arrival at the club, like all members, is always met with a wave, a handshake, or an update on what's going on in the ring that day. "They've accepted me," he says, lighting up with a smile. "I've learned a lot here, and I help out where I can."
What impresses Fran most about life at the club is the effect it's having on members. "Some of the success stories- it's unbelievable the turnaround in some of our members." He immediately thinks of club member Anthony (link this). "Anthony was heavy, very insecure. He wouldn't look you in the eye. [Now] he's a gentleman. What a change in him. I think he's one of the best stories down here." Fran laughs, a big, proud guffaw, "Ask his mother! She loves that he comes down here. It's a way of life, and he doesn't miss a day."
- JD Debski
Norman "Stoney" Stone
Norman "Stoney" Stone
As the vibrant, passionate President of the SBC, Norman "Stoney" Stone is the embodiment of the club philosophy. The long-time professional trainer began his relationship with the club nearly forty years ago, volunteering, attending fights and fundraisers, and acting as a mentor for others. He has seen Somerville Boxing Club through moves, changes, and generations of promising talent and changed lives.
Stoney's youth, like that of many who pass through the doors of the SBC, was played out on some of the meaner streets of Somerville. The lifelong resident remembers life back in the day. "It was a rough town, Somerville," he remarks when asked of his upbringing. His own youth became one of hard habits; it wasn't until alcohol had taken a toll on his life, his family and his health that he walked into his first meeting, and began to change his life.
In the thirty-five years since that first meeting, Stoney has changed his own life, and many others. He rose to prominence coaching Heavyweight Champion John Ruiz from amateur status all the way to his 2001 victory against Evander Holyfield. Even so, his proudest success stories are those of the kids and adults he has trained and mentored over three decades at the club.
Stoney isn't merely a trainer. Because he's lived through many of the same circumstances as his mentees, he is there to provide whatever they need. Sometimes, it means lending an ear to someone with a problem. Other times, it means transportation to the club, or to a meeting. "We make sure everyone gets home safe. If someone can't afford cab fare, we'll make sure they get home. If someone needs something to eat, we'll send out for a few pizzas." Stoney's given homework help and life advice at least as often as he's given instruction on the perfect right jab.
Though Somerville has seen a boom in recent years, Stoney still sees the need for coaching, mentorship, and safe stomping grounds to keep kids off the streets. Mentoring kids to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and giving them an alternative to the temptations in the streets is as much a part of the club's mission. "I think the club is a great safety net for kids who have situations at home or at school. There's a lot of respect down here."
His flock of young trainers and boxers all has the same thing to say: "He's the best." His genuine love for the sport and concern for Somerville's youth is the cornerstone of the trust members have placed in him. Says one member of Stoney's support for the club, "He's like a father to everyone in here. He opens his door to any and everybody."
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
- Khiry Todd
- Antonia Villa
- Orlando Maffucci