Central City Boxing Club and Barbell, based in Springfield, Massachusetts, embodies the true spirit of USA Boxing.
Dean Fay, the Central City Boxing and Barbell Gym Founder & Director, has helped develop the Western New England Golden Gloves franchise into the preeminent power in the six-state region, capturing numerous individual All-New England titles and five consecutive team championships.
More importantly, though, Dean and his outstanding staff have reshaped the futures of countless youth in Greater Springfield, instilling an invaluable philosophy that, through amateur boxing, provides an opportunity for members to reshape their lives, in addition to making a significant difference in their communities.
From a storied past at the nearby Holyoke Boys & Girls Club, Dean and his young boxers have a new home at MassMutual Center in Springfield, which will host the second stop of the USA Boxing USA vs. Ireland Northeast Boxing Tour on Thursday, March 15. An exciting evening of entertainment, headlined by 10 bouts of amateur boxing between the two powerhouse national programs, as well as Springfield’s hometown AC/DC tribute band, BACK IN BLACK, kicking off the show and continuing to perform throughout the night.
Tickets are on sale now, ranging in price from $35 for Upper Bowl seating to $100 for a limited premium seat at a ringside table. Seats in the Lower Bowl section of the MassMutual Center can be purchased for $50. Tickets can be purchased online here. Groups of 10 or more can enjoy select savings by calling Richard DeCusati at 413-271-3259.
Fay is a Springfield police officer who started his program 10 years ago, last year moving into Central City Boxing and Barbell Gym, primarily to keep kids off the street, teaching them values to become productive citizens.
“Our program, first, is youth development and second, boxing,” Fay explained. “We use boxing as a vehicle for valuable teaching lessons, embodying the same values of boxing: competition, cohesiveness and integrity. Springfield has had a long history in boxing. The Golden Gloves were held in Holyoke, one city over from Springfield, for 50 years before coming here. Golden Gloves has funded a lot of small gyms because many of these kids can’t afford fees. We’ve bridged the gap by hosting shows that raises money and creates fanbases.
“Through the years, Marvin Hagler, Marlon Starling, Micky Ward, John Scully and so many others have come through USA Boxing programs in New England. Boxing represents life; how to conduct themselves in and out of the ring. Boxing is a small fraternity and boxers walk up those steps and through the ropes, in front of everybody, and confront their fears. Boxing is determined by judges and, in life, you are judged by how you live by laws. Life values are taught through boxing.
“Hosting the USA-Boxing Northeast Boxing Tour gives kids in our program an opportunity to watch up close the top boxers who are representing their country. My kids realize that they could do that someday. They see the best boxers in the country and that’s where they want to be.”
Anticipated Team USA boxers competing in Springfield include 2017 Elite World Championship bronze medalist Troy Isley (Alexandria, VA.), along with 2017 Elite World Championship team members Delante Johnson (Cleveland, OH), Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, TX), who won four international gold medals last year, and 2016 Youth World Championship bronze medalist and 2017 USA Boxing Super Heavyweight National Champion, Richard Torrez (Tulare, CA). All boxers are subject to change.
Retired three-time, two-division world champion Jose Antonio Rivera started boxing in Springfield before moving to another Western N.E. stronghold in Worcester (MA). Now promoting professional shows, Rivera excelled as an amateur, winning top honors at the New England Golden Gloves and twice in the Western N.E. Championships, highlighted by a bronze-medal performance at the PAL Championships.
“I was fortunate to be part of USA Boxing,” Rivera said. “Gaining experience in amateur boxing helped mold me as a person and give me confidence to pursue my dream of becoming world champion as a professional. I started boxing in Springfield when I was 15, before moving to Worcester (MA), becoming part of Carlo Garcia’s growing stable of national and regional champions.”
The three-city boxing tour kicks off at Boston’s Royale Entertainment Complex on March 12 and closes Mar. 21 at the Manchester Downtown Hotel in Manchester, N.H. A full roster for both teams will soon be released.