Opening bell

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The Warwick Police Athletic League recently kicked off its brand-new boxing program at On the Ropes in Warwick.

PAL hosted multiple open house sessions on Saturday and another on Monday evening, in hopes to introduce the sport to the city as well as the entire state of Rhode Island.

“It was very positive, all the participants that were there seemed to enjoy the experience, I think that it was good. It is a sport that unfortunately, due to many variables over the years, has since declined. So we’re hoping to bring the sport back, revitalize it, and to give kids the outlet to learn and exercise,” said PAL Executive Director Robert King. “Boxing is one of the most popular sports in the country in different areas, however it has declined in Rhode Island, that it why we are trying to reintroduce it.”

Talks regarding the PAL boxing program have been ongoing for over a year, with perhaps the biggest hurdle being the location. On the Ropes is a new gym that opened its doors just a few months ago on Knight street, and the two sides worked together to get the ball rolling.

“This has been ongoing for about a year, year and a half. Our thing was finding a facility, we had a location in mind that fell through, but we saw that On the Ropes was opening and being advertised so we found a way to make it work with them and then it became pretty much just working around their opening schedule. Once that came to fruition, that kind of put the ball in motion to allow us to begin pondering with them and to try to run the program,” said King.

The program will be offering beginner courses in the early going, as the official boxing season does not begin until the fall. Whether it is learning the sport, or simply trying to find a way to stay active, King believes that boxing provides many great things that other sports do not.

“I think getting the word out and expressing the interest that people have in the program has been successful. People have their reservations about the sport of boxing, some people think that they’re just going to go in there and get hit for lack of better terms, but there are a lot of rewards that come from the sport of boxing,” said King. “We want to provide an introduction to the sport then allow the participant to take it as far as they want. If it is utilized as a means to exercise, then great. If it is a more competitive individual that would like to get in the ring and actually box, we can accommodate that as well.”

Between the staff at PAL, as well as the trainers at On the Ropes, participants will be getting top-notch instruction as well.

“Our (PAL) instructors are all licensed boxers, coupled with the staff at On the Ropes who are all licensed as well, if we find someone that wants to box competitively then we would certainly be able to accommodate them,” said King, who credited everyone involved that helped make the program a reality.

“It’s been a collaborative effort,” said King. “The guys in the department, the staff at On the Ropes, we have been discussing this for over a year. Officer Russ Brown, who will be the head of boxing, really spearheaded the program to this point, he has been involved in boxing for years. The other officers have been instrumental too, without them we wouldn’t have been able to put this together, especially without the conjunction with the owners at On the Ropes.”

Members of the PAL boxing program include: Russ Brown, Daniel Maggiacomo, William Castaldi, Matthew Caridemos, Derek Mourato, James Vible, and Max Neiley.

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