When all is said and done, one of the best ways to keep youths on the straight and narrow is to keep them busy – both physically and mentally.
And one of the country’s oldest tried and true methods is through the sport of boxing, which will be showcased on Sunday when the PacPlex sports facility presents the finals of the first annual Born & Bred Brooklyn Boxing Tournament.
The event is the first boxing tournament exclusively for amateur senior and master boxers, both men and women, from the East Coast’s Region 1 area.
“I had a passion for boxing my whole life,” said retired NYPD Detective Tommy Dades, who grew up in Sunset Park and it one of four volunteer coaches/trainers at the PacPlex’s two boxing gyms. “I’ve been involved with the sports for many years and have seen the positive results it has on inner city youth. Basically we’re mentors towards these kids keeping them on track.”
Dades said while kids as young as six, depending on their maturity level train in the boxing portion of the 75,000-square foot sports complex, which also includes a health club, three indoor basketball courts, an indoor soccer field, two indoor/four outdoor swimming pools, boxing arena, racquetball court, restaurant and a private dining room.
“It’s all about the kids. We send them all around the country to fight. No violence, no guns, no drugs. The boxing gyms has programs for kids from six to 16 depending on their maturity level,” he said.
As for Sunday’s Born & Bred Boxing tournament finals, Dades credited both Yvonne Williams, the ex-president of USA Boxing, for organizing the event, and to PacPlex owners Irv Landau and Mike Silva Ritchie Marshall for contributing much of the funding.
Dades also gave a special thanks to the event sponsors including Walden Macht & Haran LLP, the NY Giants, Premier Solutions, Casale Jewelers, Reggianos Restaurant, Genuine Brooklyn Wear, Tradewell Home Improvement and Arthur L. Aidala, Esq.
In addition to showcasing some of the most talented amateur athletes in the country, the event will also honor several organizations and local individuals. Among these is the James E Davis Stop Violence Foundation, which is a grass roots organization whose mission is to stop violence in urban America. The Foundation brings about positive changes to the lives of inner-city residents by spotlighting attention on the issues threatening their safety and unity. Along with teaching problem-solving techniques, the organization teaches self-love, community pride and respect for others.
Oother organizations being honored include Stop-PD, an organization whose mission is to help improve the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease through support, intense exercise programs, and education to encourage proactivity and a positive shift in perspective towards the future, and Keith Watkins’ No Kid Left Behind, which promotes positive values through programs dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for youths that will encourage and guide them to become successful individuals.
The event will also recognize the family of the late NYPD Officer Michael Scarcella and Artie Aidala. A Boxing Hall of Famer, Artie, a New York boxing judge for almost 40 years, was at ringside for the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier ”fight of the century” in 1971.
Geoffrey Davis, the president of the James E. Davis Stop Violence and the Democratic District Leader for the 43rd Assembly District, said growing up his dad was a huge boxing fan and he can remember watching the greats like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali with his father and his late brother, James, who also fought in the Golden Gloves.
“Boxing takes hard work, discipline, training and an understanding of the science behind the sport,” said Davis. “It also provides a safe haven and outlet for at-risk kids. You have to wonder where some of the great like Mike Tyson would be without boxing.”
The first annual Born & Bred Brooklyn Boxing Tournament finals will feature 17 three-round bouts feating both male and female fighters. It is slated to begin with NYPD, FDNY and West Point Honor guards at 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 23, at the PacPlex Sports Facility, 1500 Paerdegat Avenue North in Canarsie. For more information log onto www.pacplex.com or call 718-209-1010 ext 117.