Somerville Boxing Fight For Your Future.
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.
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.
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
- Andrew Rivera
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."
- Mazac Gambardella
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
- Danny J
- Tom Gorman
- Jalam Garcia
Everything I have in this world, I owe to the sport of boxing, and I won't ever forget that.
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."
Better to fight for something than to live for nothing.
- Perez Campusano
- Matt Difraia
- Orlando Maffucci
Excuses are born out of fear. Eliminate your fear and there will be no excuses.
- Mike Feeney
- Joey G
- Jake Detar
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.