Monday, March 30, 2015

The Golden Boys

This Wednesday at the Barclays Center six of our young people will step into the ring to fight for the Golden Gloves championships. Elijah and I caught up with them in between rounds to ask a few questions about boxing and life...

Name: Nick Scaturchio
Weight Class: 108 Novice
Record: 8-3
What's your style? I can box or brawl. It depends on the other fighter.
What do you know about your opponent, and what's the game plan? He stands straight up and likes to throw a lot of lazy jabs. I'll use lots of head movement, jab my way inside and switch it up to the head and body.
What do you do when you're not boxing? A lot of schoolwork. I also like to study classic tapes of old fashioned fighters like Pernell Whitaker and Roberto Duran: I take things from them and put them in my style.
Who is your favorite fighter of all time? Arturo Gatti.
What is something surprising about you that not too many people know? I had an osteoid osteoma, which is a benign bone tumor. It took two years off my boxing career. Coming back after that was really hard and required a lot of physical therapy and strength training. It actually made me realize how strong I am.

 Bruce "Shu Shu" Carrington, Jr.
Weight Class: 123 Open
Record: 59-10
What's your style? Boxer/puncher
What do you know about your opponent, and what's the game plan? He's a southpaw. I heard he's pretty strong. He's not as fast as me, but he comes to fight and he's pretty tough. The first round I'm going to feel him out. The second round I'm going to turn up my aggression. The third I'm going to make sure I dominate.
What do you do when you're not boxing? Homework.
Who is your favorite fighter of all time? Floyd Mayweather
What is something surprising about you that not too many people know? I have a hidden anger inside of me.

 Alvaro "Chiquito" Roman Flores
Weight Class: 132 Novice
Record: 10-0
What's your style? Puncher
What do you know about your opponent, and what's the game plan? He's 26 years old from Queens. He's a boxer. Starting from the first round I'm going to put pressure and go to the body, mixing it up with uppercuts.
What do you do when you're not boxing? Listen to music. I don't really have free time. I'm always busy.
Who is your favorite fighter of all time? Juan Manuel Marquez. Everybody says I look and fight like Fernando Vargas and I agree.
What is something surprising about you that not too many people know? I'm really sensitive outside the gym. I'm not rough. I'm a woman lover.

 Richardson "Africa" Hitchins
Weight Class: 141 Open
Record: 60-12
What's your style? Boxer
What do you know about your opponent, and what's the game plan? He throws a lot of punches and he's sloppy. I'ma use my feet smart and box him.
What do you do when you're not boxing? School and boxing, that's it. And I play a lot of Fight Night.
Who is your favorite fighter of all time? Floyd Mayweather
What is something surprising about you that not too many people know? I don't know. All I know is boxing.

 Omar Salem
Weight Class: 152 Novice
Record: 10-2
What's your style? Boxer
What do you know about your opponent, and what's the game plan? He's big, strong, and keeps coming forward. I'm going to box him, counter him all the time, and keep my jab in his face. I got to be like Floyd.
What do you do when you're not boxing? I play ball. I love basketball.
Who is your favorite fighter of all time? Andre Ward
What is something surprising about you that not too many people know? I can dunk.

 Nkosi "Big Black" Solomon
Weight Class: Super heavyweight open
Record: Prefers not to answer
What's your style? Boxer/puncher. I fight like a big guy but I try to have the agility of a small guy.
What do you know about your opponent, and what's the game plan? All I know is that he has two arms, two legs, and a head and that I'm ready to go.
What do you do when you're not boxing? I hang with my friends and play video games with my nieces and nephews.
Who is your favorite fighter of all time? Of the recent era, Floyd Mayweather. Of all time, Sugar Ray Leonard.
What is something surprising about you that not too many people know? I'm shy. I may come off as a happy person, but that's just a front I put on. Not too many people know the real me.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Mongoose Creed

Bruce "Shu Shu" Carrington will fight for the 123-pound open title next week at the Barclays Center. He's also applying for the George Horowitz scholarship to further his education. Sometimes I have to help our boxers quite a lot with essays, but Shu Shu sat down at my laptop and banged this out like a newspaper man on a deadline:

I started boxing at the age of 7. As a young kid, I always wanted to play basketball. Boxing was never on my mind. But the main reason why I started the sweet science was because I was being bullied as a child from older 5th graders while I was in 2nd grade. Although I was a small kid, I was a natural talent at defending myself because I grew up in a rough tough neighborhood. My father saw that as an advantage and asked me if I wanted to box and I agreed. 

Starrett City Boxing Club was under a garage named Hornell Loop. Before I walked through the doors, I heard the sounds of the boxers yelling and grunting as they were punching the heavy bag and the constant loud beat of the speed bag. As I walked through the doors, I was nervous because I didn’t know much about boxing and I was looking to impress all of the coaches and boxers there. I started working out on the punching bag and I fell in love with it. At that moment, my heart transformed into the shape of a boxing glove. Boxing means everything to me. It’s my life. 

As I began to learn more about boxing, it taught me how to discipline myself and channel my emotions. If I ever ran into an altercation with someone, I was disciplined enough to know that fighting wasn’t going to resolve the problem and it was just a waste of time. All I did was compromise with them and walk away and since I have started boxing I have never had another street fight. If I was ever angry with something that was going on in my life, I had boxing to let all of my anger out. The boxing gym is like my temple of peace. 

Boxing also taught me to appreciate the life that I live. Being that I travel around the country to compete in different tournaments, I get to experience life outside of New York. I travel to California, Alabama, Las Vegas and many other places. I meet different people all around the country, sometimes even celebrities if I get lucky. I always make new friends when I travel. Even my opponents that I compete with become my friends because boxing is all about respect. I also love the feeling of winning a nation-wide tournament because that boosts my confidence.

I’ve always balanced education and boxing despite all of the boxing demands that come my way. Education has always been first because it would give me pride to be the first high school and college graduate out of my family. Education will also open many doors of opportunity for me such as well-paying jobs. My goal in college is to study sports management. I always wanted to do sports management because I want to be able to manage myself when I become a professional boxer. I don’t want to be taken advantage of by other managers when I become professional. I want to be known as the greatest athlete to ever step foot in the ring, not the best boxer, but the best athlete. I also would like to give back to my community and maybe build a recreation center that will help kids the way that I’ve been helped by the Atlas Cops N Kids gym in Flatbush.

Boxing will help me get my family out of the living conditions that we are in. Being that my brother died a few months ago through gun violence, I want to be able to live in a community that I feel more comfortable in. The Brownsville section of Brooklyn is a tough neighborhood to grow up in. Although it may have its flaws, Brownsville made me into the type of person I am today. I take the negative in the community and turn it into a positive. Plus, Brownsville isn’t all bad. The people there show a lot of support and take pride in the people that do positive things. When I fight, my mom sometimes shouts “ Brownsville, Brownsville” because this small neighborhood is known to have produced multiple world boxing champions such as Zabdiel Judah, Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Al “Bummy” Davis, Eddie Mustafa Muhammed, Shannon Briggs, and Daniel Jacobs. Being that there are so many champions that come out of this small neighborhood, I feel like I have to live up to the Brownsville name. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

In Love With Reading

Today's post is by boxer Terrence Placide, a student at Laguardia Community College. 

A few months ago, my girlfriend Savana and I started reading books daily. She’s a wonderful, inspiring girlfriend who motivates me to achieve my goals. We were having a slight difficulty about which book or inspirational novel to read every month. How are we going to switch from our fundamental reading to our Christianity reading? At first we created an idea. The idea was, each month we alternate. For example, I would read a book called “Inside Rikers” then, once I finished that, I would alternate to a Christianity book. The one I’m currently reading is called “Jesus is__.”

Now we both don’t have to stress the idea of favoritism in a particular area. Here’s a little brief about Inside Rikers. This book took my mind to another level. It illustrates how inmates indulge themselves in criminal activities such as drug possession, weapon charges, assault, and robbery. The part that was juicy like a 12-year-old eating a watermelon was that every time an inmate would be released from incarceration he/she would find a way back into the system, the reason being that they were not adapting to non-prison life.

When I was reading the Christianity book, I was trying to find the answer to what “Jesus Is__.” At first I was frustrated due to the fact that there were so many words that were implemented. For instance, Jesus is salvation, Jesus is our savior. But as I read on, I figured out that Jesus was grace. The author shared many scenarios about why Jesus was a savior. For example, a husband and a wife hated each other for no particular reason. People would ask why they hated each other, always arguing, fighting, fussing. Even when their youngest daughter would try to have good quality time with the family, it seemed like nothing was working. A pastor had a brief conversation with the spouses, telling them to open their hearts to Jesus, seek a relationship with him, and see what He can bless them with. Both spouses tried opening up to Jesus – as we call it “Building a relationship with Jesus” – and a few months later their marriage was peaceful and happy.

Since Savana and I started reading together, we developed a strong vocabulary and know how to differentiate between “street talking” and “formal talking.”