Somerville Boxing Fight For Your Future.
- Tom Gorman
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.
Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
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.
A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.
- Isander Beauchamp
- JD Debski
- Antonia Villa
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.
- Alex Rivera
- Keith Conway
Everything I have in this world, I owe to the sport of boxing, and I won't ever forget that.
- Jake Detar
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.
- Cully Curran
- Mike Feeney
The starting point of all achievement is desire.
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
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."
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.
- Danny J