hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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December 20, 2012

No place to train

Boxing club loses its home, looks for new one

They fight outside, sometimes in the dark while aided by the overhead lights at the Haverhill High School running track.

As the sun sets and the temperature drops, they jump rope, jog around the track, do calisthenics and hit punching bags held by their trainers.

The 40 remaining members of the Haverhill Boxing Club, now training as the Haverhill Inner City Boxing organization, train under those conditions because they do not have a home due to a lack of money.

For three years, the Haverhill Boxing Club was located at the old St. Michael Church on High Street, but financial problems forced the club to move out last month.

Under the guidance of Joe Ferguson, Norman Fraza Sr., Joe Calnan and other trainers, the young boxers, have been training at the Haverhill High track. They have also used free space at a Lawrence gym, the second floor above a restaurant in Monument Square, and even the basements of trainers’ homes.

The club is looking for someone in the community to make an affordable property available where a gym can be set up.

“We had to close our doors as the Haverhill Boxing Club at 75 High St. because of a lack of funds,’’ said Dr. Sam Amari Jr., secretary of the club’s board of directors. “Joe (Ferguson) and his group will continue the good work into the future, and we’ll see what happens.”

Boxing club officials said they paid $750 a month for rent at the old church, plus the cost of heat. Some months, the total bill reached close to $1,500, they said. For the 18 years prior to being at the church, the club was located in an old industrial building on Stevens Street, where it paid a total of $500 a month for rent and heat.

Amari said the club needs a way to generate enough regular revenue to pay for the basics. If the club can find enough interest in Haverhill to fund boxing, the trainers and coaches can do the rest, he said.

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