The Effort to Bring Back White Collar Boxing

Flickr photo by Stefen Chow, taken at Trinity Boxing Club in 2007

Flickr photo by Stefen Chow, taken at Trinity Boxing Club in 2007

The first rule of Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO’s White Collar Boxing should have been “don’t talk about White Collar Boxing.”  The amateur competition held there and at other gyms in the city stopped in late 2005 after someone dropped a dime to the NYS Athletic  Commission.  Now, according to, Gleason’s owner Bruce Silverglade is thisclose to getting the tourneys back on track: The Fight to Bring…: “It helps my gym,” said Silverglade. “I have quite a few businessmen and businesswomen who train here and boxing is an addictive type of sport. It’s like ‘what’s next, what can I do?’ The logical conclusion in boxing is that you have competition, and with competition, people will continue to stay in my gym and continue to pay me my monthly dues. When they get frustrated and say, ‘well, this is great, but what else am I gonna do?’ then they’ll go look for another sport. So the shows help retain customers in my gym and then the amount we make helps me with my rent.”

Rent in Brooklyn’s DUMBO section isn’t cheap, and every little bit helps, even if the estimated $1500 to $2000 Silverglade brings in for the shows won’t make him rich anytime soon. And the money he makes mainly comes from the $15 spectator fees, not from the $20 the participants put in, which basically pays for your post-fight trophy.

“The trophies cost me $18, I charged $20, and you paid for your own trophy,” he laughs.

For 17 years, the shows went off pretty much without a hitch. While not sanctioned, they were events that no one really went out of their way to crack down on, even though there were always whispers that someone may show up to shut the event down. Other New York gyms, such as Church Street Boxing and the Trinity Boxing Club, joined in the act.

“The commission was aware of them and looked the other way,” said Silverglade. “They were contained in the gyms, only gym members were doing it. It was helping to support the local gyms, so there was no major problem.”

But in late 2005, a charity event in Long Island which featured White Collar Boxing was ‘outed’ by someone Silverglade calls a “disgruntled individual” who informed the New York State Athletic Commission that the show was unsanctioned by state law. Then-commissioner Ron Scott Stevens was called in, and he pulled the plug on the show.

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  • AEB

    OK, explain to me–please–why one would want to:

    be involved in a “sport’ that involves pouching your opponent until he (or she) is made unconscious, at which point, the standing boxer “wins”…

    want to watch same?

    Instead, see a violent movie (if you must). Play a video game (if you must). Smoke reefer (hmmmm).