The Lure Of Underground Boxing

By Erik Burling

July 22, 2010 Updated Dec 13, 2007 at 12:16 AM EDT

Backyard boxing or underground fights clubs are in our area, across the country, and shown on the internet.

This month, a dorm-room boxing match took the life of a Binghamton University student.

A look at the lure, and the warnings.

Punches, kicks, headlocks.

Videos of fights like are posted over the internet.

Garret Heatherman of Windsor says he runs a local backyard fight club involving 15 friends.

"We're just kind of a gathering of friends. We're just trying to have a little bit of fun. We don't really want to hurt anyone," says Heatherman.

Jose Sanchez has run sanctioned boxing clubs for teens.

He understands what draws some outside the ring.

"It's an attraction a way to boost their self-esteem. They are looking for something to be recognized. Something different," says Sanchez.

That desire to be different can be a recipe for disaster.

This is video from a local backyard brawl.

Erik Charles, a professional fighter, watches with concern.

"You know one of the big problems with this stuff too is that they have no clue how to defend it. You know what I mean. They have no idea how to defend a punch," says Charles.

And Charles says that is what makes unsanctioned fighting dangerous, and deadly.

A student boxing in a dorm at Binghamton University died because of a blow to his chest.

Heatherman says his group's well aware of the danger.

"We really don't want anything like that happening. Cuz then there's a whole world of trouble and guilt that can be laid upon the person. Or even just the group in general," says Heatherman.

Charles has this message for underground fighters..

"It's not a good idea to hit a person you know. Because as fun as it is, as cool as it looks it's hard to look back and say what would really happen ya know if I hit this person," says Charles.

Charles says one punch is all it takes.

Both Sanchez and Charles say people who want to box should stay with sanctioned, supervised matches.

For information, call the Central New York Mixed Martial Arts at 836-4662.

It's located Upper Front Street in Binghamton.

Sanchez is looking for a place to continue his club which no longer can use one American Legion post.

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