February 19, 2014

Night Before the Fights, Pop's Boxing Gym in Bedford Park to Host Bronx Golden Gloves Prelims

Tucked away along Jerome Avenue adjacent to the 4 train, just north of Bedford Park Blvd., I thought I was heading to see the local Golden Gloves preliminary competition, hosted by the New York Daily News. As luck would have it, the event will be held tomorrow night, February 19th. But it did offer me a chance to meet the owners of the gym, whose story is just as remarkable as the young talent that will be coming to compete.

Owners Marc Farrait and Eddie "Mousie" Acevedo
Pop's Boxing Gym used to be the old World Wide Gym over a year ago before it was sold to its new owner, Marc Farrait, son of the late renowned boxing trainer, Pastor Ralph Farrait. The elder Farrait trained thousands of young men for over 40 years, some who went on to make a name for themselves, boxers such as Giovanni Lorenzo (two-time world title challenger), Darling Jimenez (4-time NY Golden Glove Champion), Nicky Acevedo (Former IBA Intercontinental Welterweight Champion), and Aaron Davis (WBA Welterweight Champion).

Marc Farrait and his partner, Eddie "Mousie" Acevedo, a long-time partner and friend to his father, wanted to find a way to preserve the legacy of Farrait and his contribution to the boxing community, especially for the NY Golden Gloves competition. On March 2nd of last year, they became owners of the gym that was the last place Farrait trained his fighters. 

Honoring the late Pastor Ralph Farrait, one of NYC's
renowned boxing trainers
But this is no simple boxing gym. It is a place of hope and a sanctuary to many young men and woman, a way to stay out of trouble and away from gang influences and other activities that all too often derail the lives of so many young kids before they even start. Marc and Eddie maintain an after-school program in a space in the back of the gym, offering parents discounts to train and supervise them until they can go home. Marc thanks God for all that he has been able to do to help keep kids off the streets and to use boxing as a way to reach them and feed them a positive message. Plugging spirituality into the sport comes as second nature to Marc, who parents were both pastors and his mother, Bishop Christine Farrait, heads the City of Hope Multicultural Center on Prospect Avenue and 152nd Street in the Bronx. "Anything God has his hands on is going to be a success," says Marc, "and I want to be able to instill a sense of strength, discipline and confidence to everyone that walks through these doors. Every kid needs discipline."

Up and coming pro boxer Louis Cruz, hailing from the
Fordham section of the Bronx, trains at Pop's Gym
Marc Farrait also took the time to introduce me to one of his prize fighters, a young man by the name of Louis Cruz, who Farrait gleefully states is going to rock the boxing world. Cruz, an astounding amateur boxer with over 100 fights who recently tuned pro, has a current record of 6-0 with 4 KO's. A Bronx native, Cruz started boxing at 10 years old at the Webster PAL and was the NY Golden Gloves Lightweight Champion in 2011, going on to compete in the National Finals. Cruz also went on to win the Junior Olympics twice, and is an inspiration to many in the Bronx.

Farrait and Acevedo seem to have developed a recipe for success, although they admit that they sometimes struggle because the operation is one hundred percent privately funded. If you should happen to have the opportunity, you should come down to Pop's to see the latest round of young up and coming boxers compete for the NY Golden Gloves Preliminary bouts on 2/19, starting at 7PM. Hopefully, we will see another Bronxite rise to the top and be crowned winner of this year's Golden Gloves. See you ringside!

To follow the Golden Gloves on Facebook, click here. Visit Pop's Boxing Gym's website for up to date information on fight, or to become a member and know the fighter in you.

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