Fight Night in Fairless Hills

May 10, 2013 2:13 pm0 commentsViews: 432
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xFIGHT-FAIRLESS 2013-27wFriday Night Fights have long been an American tradition in cities and small towns alike, with young men from an area’s boxing clubs facing off in makeshift rings in local gymnasiums or parking lots. In recent years, perhaps due to the growing popularity of mixed martial arts, the number of boxing clubs in the U.S. has dwindled and Friday Night Fights have become harder to find.

One place that clings to the tradition is Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall in Fairless Hills, which hosts a Friday Night Fights card at least once every year, complete with all the familiar trappings such as a shapely ring card girl and a black-clad ring announcer with a booming voice. On April 26 a crowd of over 200 turned out, paying $20 each to sit in folding chairs and watch 7 three-round amateur bouts sanctioned by USA Boxing.

Young boxers came from Bucks County, Northeast Philadelphia, Lebanon PA, and even New York. Some were experienced fighters with a dozen bouts or more on their record; for many, this would be their first amateur fight.

Among the clubs represented was Tenth Round Boxing, based in Bristol, led by owner and trainer Pedro Rivera. The fight card included Tenth Round boxers Pat Clark, 25 years old from Bristol Borough; Mahkell Litchauer, 17, of Levittown; Evan Vuolo, 24, a Morrisville native; and Aaron Ottaggio, 29, of Langhorne [see cover photo]. Litchauer won his bout and the others went the distance before losing close decisions.

Especially for the first-time fighters, the experience of stepping into the ring before an audience of friends, family and total strangers was exhilarating, regardless of the outcome. “It was the most electrifying feeling of my life,” said Vuolo. “My heart was pumping so fast I thought it was going to come through my chest.” “It felt great!” said Aaron Ottaggio. “Nothing can describe the feeling of having everyone cheer you on and show support for all the boxers, win or lose.”

As Theodore Roosevelt said over a hundred years ago: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”