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The fighters of Westbury

The fighters from the Westbury Gym

The fighters from the Westbury Gym Credit: Chris Ware

Since 1979, the Westbury boxing gym has produced its share of champions. But that is only a small part of this story. The people who have been around the gym longest — trainers Kevin Collins and Joe Gadigian — will tell you that the real success of the gym is in the number of fighters who went on to lead productive lives away from the ring. The gym counts sanitation workers, police officers, carpenters, youth counselors and attorneys among its alumni.

Boxing has long been populated by those clinging to the lowest rungs of society's economic ladder. It's the sport of last resort. At the Westbury boxing gym, no one gets turned away. There are no gym dues for the fighters. It operates solely on private donations. All the trainers ask is that, "you respect the gym, respect each other and respect yourself."

Newsday spent 14 months following the fighters and trainers of the Westbury boxing gym. The compilation of that reporting is being presented in a new approach to storytelling. Each video profile will bring you multiple streams of data — written stories, photographs and archival video — that you can view at your own pace. You can pause a video to read a story or click through a photo gallery, or simply wait for the conclusion of the video and then immerse yourself in the extra content.


New York Sports