Somerville Boxing Fight For Your Future.
- Tom Gorman
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."
- Derik DeAngelo
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
Twenty-eight year old Keith was looking for an outlet to pass the time after work. Keith has been in recovery for @TIME; his time at Somerville Boxing Club keeps his mind focused on his goals, and gives him an outlet for expression, and a way to keep fit and stay social with men and women his age. "It helps you mentally, not just physically," he says of the training regimen. "It's good to be around people that like to see you succeed."
A former navy member, the physical fitness and the sense of belonging are both valuable to Keith. However, he wasn't always so open. "I'm very cautious of who I let into my life, and who I consider a friend. Coming here, I'm learning to interact better with people, to let people in and learn to be more sociable." He believes the environment of the club has played a big part in his transformation, and his continued success. "People here want to see you succeed, and they genuinely like you. It's like a big family here." Even having had no background in boxing, the other members, trainers and volunteers here "welcomed him in" and worked with him to improve in many areas.
With his life back on track, Keith is looking forward to getting back to work, both on the mat and in his career.
- Isander Beauchamp
- Jalam Garcia
- Nicki "Smiles" Colecca
Excuses are born out of fear. Eliminate your fear and there will be no excuses.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
- Danny J
- Keith Conway
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."
- Mazac Gambardella
- Alex Rivera
- Andrew Rivera
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.
If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.
- Joey G
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
James has been a member of SBC for a little over a year, joining to get in better shape and to create new, healthy routines for himself as a foundation for his recovery. The 25 year old, South Medford native first tried boxing as a kid. He then played football in highschool, but some unfortunate choices began to sidetrack his success. Now, with the environment and training available at the club, he's proud of the progress he's made both in and out of the ring.
James currently has four amateur fights to his credit, and he's looking forward to adding more in the future. In addition to spending time at the club, he's giving back to his community and giving others the information and insight they need to make good choices in their lives. He's added public speaking to his list of accomplishments, including speaking with students as part of the grassroots organization Medford Overcoming Addiction.
For those in recovery or yet to enter recovery, James encourages routine, exercise, and social activity- all components of his own foundation for recovery, and needs amply met by the Somerville Boxing Club. "It's great for stability," he says of the routine of hitting the gym and the development involved in becoming a boxer. "If you have anger issues, or addiction- it keeps your mind focused on one thing."
Now James is focusing his own life on the future, including getting back to full-time employment, more success in the boxing ring, and the added success of helping others overcome their struggles.
- Perez Campusano
- Orlando Maffucci