Meet the Participants: Matt Rkiouak

 

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What is your boxing nickname?

il brutto

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

I'm not really the type of person to get inspired to do too many things. This sounded like an excuse to stay in shape and be a mildly productive member of society, so it had a lot of things going for it.

Plus my boss was one of the organizer's and my girlfriend was doing it too, so how could I say no?

But on a slightly more serious note, I got a great reason to stay in shape (don't want to get beat up or embarass myself) and raised money for a very, very worthy cause. With my work at GenoSpace, I'm very aware of the impact a cancer diagnosis has on a person's life and I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to raise money while doing the athletic stuff I'd already be doing either way.

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

Staying away from the gym long enough to properly recover. I've skinned my knuckles on the speed bag and hobbled myself for a day or two after doing too many 2-a-day workouts in a row!

Who is your boxing inspiration or favorite boxer?

Muhammad Ali

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

I really enjoy a personal challenge and pushing myself harder than I have before, so I've enjoyed a lot of the training. I most enjoy the technical aspect of stepping in the ring to spar or just practicing slips and weaves while working the heavy bag. I don't think someone who hasn't tried boxing can understand how much of an intellectual as well as physical sport it is.

Have any of your preconceptions about boxing have been changed since you started training?

No one understands how long 3 minutes really feels until they've sparred a 3 minute round. I guess I'm in for even more of a lesson during my first 2 minute fight round.

What is your greatest sporting achievement to date?

I've run some half marathons, done a winter of workouts with November Project and a lot of other fun athletic activites, but never a ton of competitive sports. Played on a 11 person freshman high school, and then J/V, football team?

Meet the Participants: Hannah Foster

What is your boxing nickname?

Hannah Barbarian

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

Out of Our Heads - The Dropkick Murphys

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

When it comes down to it, there are three things you need to win a fight: 1) you need to know how to fight, 2) you need your corner, and 3) you must have heart. This is true not only for boxing, but for any fight, including one of the most deadly fights a person can face: cancer. Like many of you, I have watched amazing, strong people—kids, adults, athletes, musicians, academics—fight for their lives against cancer. Incredibly, I have seen some win the fight, thanks to their courageous and tenacious spirits, capable doctors and others in their corner, and decades of research. And I have seen some lose the fight in spite of all of those things. In order to help those battling cancer and avoid such tragic loss of life, we need a better understanding of our opponent. We need to search for its weaknesses—the tiny vulnerabilities that will allow us to make the final blow. Unfortunately, this information comes at a high price. Having spent a year researching melanoma myself, I know how costly research is and how much work it takes to gain the smallest nugget of information. But that nugget could be the key that leads to a new treatment that means one more person beats cancer. That is priceless. That is why I am here: to be a cornerman in the fight against cancer. 

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

For me, the toughest part of anything is slogging through frustration and defeat, but this is even more true for boxing. The bottom line is that in boxing, there are times when you just get beat up. Losing in most other sports means disappointment. Losing in boxing means physical punishment AND disappointment. It's hard to get back up when you feel like you've been ground into the mat. But as much as the pain is painful, the success is exhilarating. There is nothing like the feeling when something clicks and all of a sudden, you are a boxer. It is beyond worth the frustration. 

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

Two things, really: I love learning and mastering the art of boxing. It is amazing to see how far I've come from not knowing how to throw a jab. I also love the people I work with at Redline: my coach, the other women with whom I spar, the guys who give me tips and advice. 

Have any of your preconceptions about boxing have been changed since you started training?

Absolutely. 1) I never would have guessed that I'd even like boxing, nonetheless fall in love with it. 2) The people I've met through the sport are all incredible, gentle, kind, smart people. I sort of expected a lot of testosterone-driven men and a few women with aggression problems. 3) Boxing is not just people beating up on each other. Boxing is an art, a dance. It takes true skill. It takes courage and heart. It takes instinct. It takes physical and mental endurance. It pushes you to your limits and then asks more of you. It requires everything.

What is your greatest sporting achievement to date?

Learning to box, by far. I've gone to Nationals with Ultimate Frisbee teams in college, I've run marathons, I've done lots of yoga...But nothing is as physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging as boxing is. That is part of the reason I love it.

Meet the Participants: Kaitlin Peters

What is your boxing nickname?

 

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The Macher

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

Mama said knock you out - LL Cool J

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

My younger sister won her fight against non Hodgkin's Lymphoma while she was still in high school and my dad lost his fight against thymus cancer 3 years ago, I've been involved in the fight against cancer ever since. So when I heard I could literally fight against cancer I said "that sounds fun!"

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

Not having a gym for awhile made getting started with training hard and the fact that my gym is about an hour and 20 minutes from my apartment makes going more than twice a week tricky. That being said, I'm loving it now that we've started

Who is your boxing inspiration or favorite boxer?

Kimberly, from our gym!

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

Getting to know the trainers at my gym. They've been incredibly helpful in both getting us into kick ass shape and teaching us about boxing and the culture around it. They're really training us like they would any other boxer, you can tell by how they talk about the fight and how hard they push us

What is your greatest sporting achievement to date?

Running a marathon. I've done it, twice, and still can't believe people can run for 26.2 miles. It's crazy...and I'm probably going to do it again. I like that it's all you, you can't attribute finishing or quitting on anyone else but yourself...that and the meal afterwards

Meet the Participants: Phil O Driscoll

What is your boxing nickname?

Phil "The Power" O' Driscoll

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

Ready Or Not - The Fugees

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

 

Donate

After attending the first About to Benefit event and witnessing the bravery it took friends among others to step into the ring in front of a big crowd and test themselves physically and mentally, I was determined to signup. The story of Michael Dunleavy and his families commitment to bring awareness and donations to a truly worthy cause was also a major factor in my participation.

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

Getting into the ring sparring for the first time was a real mental and physical challenge. A three minute round of boxing might not sound like a long time but when you are in the ring you realize how much of a challenge it is.

Who is your boxing inspiration or favorite boxer?

Mike Tyson

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

Everything about the training at Redline has been really enjoyable. Meeting other boxers and trainers at Redline has been a highlight, the dedication they put in is impressive.

Have any of your preconceptions about boxing have been changed since you started training?

The level of training required to get a decent technique in the ring was something that I think I underestimated. It is a steep learning curve to get to the point where you can throw a good 1-2 combination while maintaining a boxing stance that allows you to protect yourself from an opponents punches.

What is your greatest sporting achievement to date?

I am proud of both these achievements;
- Running the 2014 Baystate marathon in 3 hours 10 minutes
- Being the player/manager of a Kendall Wanderers team that won promotion to the Baystate Soccer League (BSSL) First Division in 2014

Meet the Participants: Chris Washington

What is your boxing nickname?

 

donate

The Candy Man

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

The Champ Is Here - Jadakiss

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

I attended the event last year and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  This year I thought it'd be nice to take an active role in the cause and help drive awareness/raise money for childhood cancers and brain tumors.  I'm fighting to give children the opportunity to spend more time with their loved ones and to hopefully one day find a cure.

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

Getting punched in the face and being okay with it.

Who is your boxing inspiration or favorite boxer?

Muhammed Ali

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

The fitness... The training has been a great way to start off the new year on a good path.  

Have any of your preconceptions about boxing have been changed since you started training?

Yes, I found out that it isn't easy!

Meet the Participants: Lori Li

What is your boxing nickname?

 

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Invincible

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

Naruto Theme Song

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

People always think I'm a physically weak Asian girl, so I would like to show to myself how tough I actually am/could be, not only physically but mentally. Believe in yourself that you are too tough to get beaten down is also the spirit to face cancer.

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

Persuading myself to punch people as hard as I could.

Who is your boxing inspiration or favorite boxer?

Evander Holyfield

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

Seeing myself progressing everyday.

Meet the Participants: Miriam Marcis

What is your boxing nickname?

 

Donate

The Mayhem

What music are you going to play as you enter the ring?

Oasis - F*ckin' in the Bushes

What inspired you to take part in this year's event?

I've always loved playing sports, and as I've settled into the post college years I've enjoyed trying new ways to stay active.  I'd never considered boxing before, but attending the event last year was pretty inspiring - the idea of getting into something entirely unexpected and new was exciting, with plenty of motivation provided by the fact that all proceeds go towards a great cause.  Knowing families that have been deeply affected by stories similar to the Dunleavy's, I hope to make some sort of impact in the fight against cancers and tumors.

What has been the toughest part of your training so far?

Clocking Tess Reagan in the face

What has been the most enjoyable part of training so far?

The group I am training with - everyone is friendly and supportive!  It's been nice to learn something entirely new in that kind of environment.

Have any of your preconceptions about boxing have been changed since you started training?

The level of skill and technique required, and how hard it is to maintain when put into the ring.