EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 9, 2013

Young boxers fight for a place to call home

Believe a regular place to train would help them win

HAVERHILL — They’re like a band of nomads, always on the move, with no place to call home.

But because they are warriors of sorts, it’s becoming more and more difficult for them to make a strides toward becoming better fighters and ultimately better people.

Teenage members of the Haverhill Boxing Club lost their bouts in New York last weekend. Victories would have qualified them to fight in the Silver Gloves national championships.

Their fellow club members wonder what might have happened in those bouts if the Haverhill fighters had a more stable training environment. In November, the club lost its training area in the old St. Michael’s Church on High Street because the club could not afford to pay its rent and utility bills. Since then, club members have trained in various places, even outdoors, to prepare for bouts or simply sharpen their physical and mental skills.

City officials are trying to find the club a new home. In the meantime, the young boxers bounce back and forth between a gym in Lawrence and other spots, including the running track behind Haverhill High School.

“These kids train anyplace we can find to hang a bag or work out with them,” said Joe Ferguson, coach and trainer of the organization, which is now known as Haverhill Inner City Boxing.

“Our kids, with a few fights behind them, won their regionals against more experienced guys who have a home gym to train in,” Ferguson said. “Our guys qualified to fight in the New York matches with what we could give them, and they’re doing it without any place to train on a regular basis.’’

After the club lost its space at the church, the new club has not been able to find a permanent home.

“We’ve talked with the city and they’re looking around for us,” Ferguson said of Haverhill officials.

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