Somerville Boxing Fight For Your Future.
- Khiry Todd
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.
Excuses are born out of fear. Eliminate your fear and there will be no excuses.
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."
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.
- Rashidi Ellis
- Nicki "Smiles" Colecca
- Matt Difraia
If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Dennis Willcox knows the value of good conditioning and the team environment. The Everett football coach and former Golden Gloves boxer has been involved in sports most of his life. Dennis grew up as part of the Somerville Boxing Club, and now he's hoping to pass on the benefits of boxing to the next generation-- including his own son.
Dennis spends much of his free time at the club, helping to train and condition the members and fighters that make up the club community. Three of the members are Dennis' own recruits- members of the Everett football team who come to the club as a way to keep their skills and physical fitness sharp. He sees the club as a great way to hone not only physical fitness, but discipline as well. "To show up every single day and work out in a boxing gym is not an easy thing," he says. "It's not like Bally's or LA Fitness, or getting on a treadmill."
The regimen of training and conditioning serves another, more important purpose. "Somerville is a tough city, and the surrounding cities, too." Dennis sees boxing as a way of giving kids focus and an expressive outlet for the pressures of life in the city. "I want to show them that boxing has been good to me, and it could be good to them also."
He sees as many rewards as the kids he trains. One of the best parts of the job, to his thinking: "The reward of playing a positive part in a kid's life," he says, looking toward the bustle of training and sparring going on in the background.
He believes the club is a place where you can come to change your life, no matter what your circumstances. It's also a place where you can experience a family environment, and a chance to be equals. He's experienced it firsthand. "Whether they went to Yale or they went to jail. We never turn our back on anyone. It the twenty-something years I've been coming here, they've never turned their back on me."
In the year that Richie Jones has been a member of Somerville Boxing Club, many facets of his life have undergone a transformation. The 28 year old boxer began his training at the YMCA Cambridge with his cousin and younger brother. After showing professional promise in the ring, he was introduced to Stoney with the hopes that the boxing veteran and mentor could take Richie all the way to pro.
Richie was not always on the trajectory toward success. Several run-ins with the law and association with gang activity landed Richie in juvenile detention. After a move introduced him to a different crowd, he left the gang life, but drug-related charges landed him in South Bay Correctional for two years. He realized then, it was time for a change.
Richie got out of South Bay, and dedicated his life to being better. He started boxing, and came to Somerville Boxing Club as a way to hone his skills, occupy his time, and improve his life overall. Boxing has greatly improved his health- he no longer drinks or smokes - but the real transformation has taken place in the way he interacts with the world around him. "I used to walk the streets and pick fights just to see if I could win them. It's ten times better to feel positive about yourself."
Now Richie is encouraging others to take the same path. He invites friends to the club, selling them on the low-pressure environment and friendly atmosphere in the club. "Want to come work out, want to get in shape?" He asks. So far, two friends have taken him up on the offer of free training, a safe place to hang, and the chance to learn more about the sweet science.
Richie's future has promise. While he's currently looking for work with the union, his real goal is clear. "I want to go pro.
- Alex Rivera
Alex Rivera is registered as an amateur level USA boxing training.
Alex started boxing at 33. His beginnings were in MMA and kickboxing. "I could have chosen any of the gyms in the area.", he said, but he chose SBC.
He's quick to point out the distinction between the two. "I don't call it fighting. I call it boxing. There's a difference. A fighter is a troublemaker. A boxer is someone who has sportsmanlike conduct."
- Joey G
Everything I have in this world, I owe to the sport of boxing, and I won't ever forget that.
- Tom Gorman
- Derik DeAngelo
Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.
- Andrew Rivera
- Isander Beauchamp
- Keith Conway
- Mazac Gambardella