In 2004, I set out to create a website to teach the fundamentals of boxing to anyone interested, online, for free. The result was a website launched in December of that year called BOXING 4 FREE. As time has passed, sections were added, guest writers & bloggers such as Andrew Schweitzer and Andrea Wein have contributed to the site by providing pre-fight analysis, as well as recaps, and boxing history. However, the main purpose of the site, to learn the basics boxing online for free, has always been at the core.
Coach: Justin M Salvato
I was born and raised in New York City. I began running track/cross country when I was 14. Then at the age of 17, I began training in the martial arts. I found a school on Long Island that taught a little of everything; Kung Fu, Thaiboxing (Muay Thai), Kali, shootwrestling, Kenpo, and at the core of it all was western boxing. We learned how to use the different styles when we needed to, but everything we did started from a boxing range or stance. After a few months, I realized I liked boxing more than anything.
My First Sparring Experience
Then the day came to get in the ring and spar. Mind you, I didn't have to, this was totally voluntary. I walked up those steps into the ring, looked out at the other students and knew this is what I wanted to do. Then the bell rang. BAM! Reality hit me like a two-by-four across my face. I got my butt kicked! On top of that, my punches were soft and my defense was lacking. But I kept going back. Some weeks later I had to spar a competitor... He kicked my butt from one corner to the other. My defense at the time was to let my head block all the punches, which is something we were taught to avoid. When I was done, I walked out the ring and my trainer turned to me and said, "You got some set of balls." That was the biggest compliment I had ever received up to that point in my life. And it made me want to do it more. Eventually my offense improved and footwork improved, but I still had no head movement.
In The Country
Not too long after I turned 20, my trainer agreed to train me for the amateurs, for the Golden Gloves. Less than a month after that, I was living in a small town in Pennsylvania. No gym, no boxing, no anything. Why? Because I didn't have my own place; was still living with the folks when they decided to relocate and I couldn't afford to stay in New York City on my own. I kept working out in my basement in Pennsylvania. I kept watching fights on tape and reviewing everything I learned. I noticed my movement was better, my punches were more crisp, but I had given up on the idea of competing.
In A Real Boxing Gym
Then my girlfriend found a gym about an hour away in Wilkes-Barre. I was working in a factory at the time, 12 hour shifts from 6 PM to 6 AM. I would drive to the gym, work out for about an hour and a half with a trainer, while a friend, Amy (her vehicle), slept in her car. After the work out, we drove an hour home. Slept for a few hours and went back to work. That was my routine. Then my first sparring session in years took place at the new gym and my sparring partner couldn't land a punch. He was so impressed with my defense. As was everyone who sparred me after that.
So eventually I started competing and guess what? I won the Western Pennsylvania Golden Gloves. I eventually became a USA Boxing certified coach, helped assist boxers in the gym, taught boxing fitness classes in 3 different gyms, and have taken a break from it all to continue to work on this site. When I am not working with Andrew Schweitzer on BOXING 4 FREE, I am collecting vintage computers, reading technology news, and convincing everyone I talk to that Windows Phone is better than any other smartphone platform. =)