Boxing matches seek to replace gun violence

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Ray (black & red trunks) delivers a mighty left to Hanney's head.

POUGHKEEPSIE – Seeking an alternative to deadly street violence, boxing matches were held in Poughkeepsie Saturday afternoon.  The bouts at the Family Partnership Center were hosted by the APJ Boxing Club.

“Less Guns More Boxing” was created by APJ owner Kariym Patterson.  The organized event was sanctioned by USA Boxing Metro.  The sanctioning organization is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and the governing body of amateur boxing in NYC, Long Island, and upstate NY including Dutchess, Sullivan, and Orange Counties. They promote competitive excellence and a love for the sport of boxing.

Saturday’s event, sponsored by several local businesses and community organizations was scheduled for 12 bouts, including a match between two boxers under the age of 10-years-old.  Honor Archer, the 9-year-old son of SNUG (Guns spelled backward) program manager Eric “Yahya” Archer was set to fight in the 65-pound weight class.  At the last minute, his opponent backed out.  Moments before the cancelation, Honor told Mid Hudson News that he was looking forward to his first competitive match.  Upon hearing the withdrawal, he was upset and sought comfort from his father.

A battle in the 201-pound class featured 26-year-old Middletown resident Aaron Ray, a basketball player turned boxer, squaring off against Tommy Hanney.  In a three-round flurry of punches, Ray won in a split decision.  Boxing for only 9 months, Ray said the sport is good for kids.  “It’s a better way to get your anger and frustrations out,” he said, noting that it can curb street violence.

City of Poughkeepsie Councilwoman Yvonne Flowers attended the event with her brother, community activist Frankie Flowers, and her two young grandchildren.  “This event highlights the number of community members seeking to avoid gun violence and get involved in something positive.”  The 8th ward councilwoman added “This reinforces my call for more youth programming that keeps our kids on the right path.”

Reverend Stacey Bottoms of the Beulah Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie was at the event.  Bottoms is an integral part of the city and also trains at APJ Boxing.  “Training at APJ has helped me.  Everyone needs to have the basic ability to defend themselves but there’s more to it,” she said.  “Boxing is 80% mental, requiring discipline of both the mind and body,” said Bottoms.  Ms. Bottoms also touted the benefits of local boxing clubs that draw youth into their programs.  “Boxing keeps our youth off the streets but it also instills life skills that keep our kids safe, and we need more of this.”

The event in the gym at the Family Partnership Center drew boxers from the Hudson Valley and beyond, along with family and friends who watched the boxers.

The second round of the Ray v. Hanney fight can be watched here: