PEEKSKILL, N.Y. - Peekskill's Be First Boxing is quickly becoming a home for Golden Gloves competitors.
Be First Boxing’s Omar Hassan, 21, beat last year's metro Golden Gloves champ, Trevor Meyers, at the Mendez Boxing Club in New York City on Feb. 16.
Hassan moved to Peekskill from Yonkers four years ago with his family. He said that lately he has been focusing squarely on boxing.
“I got into fights as a kid growing up, so I decided to come out to the gym one day and I just stuck with it,” Hassan said. “I also won the Rumble at the River fight we had in Peekskill, so I’m doing pretty well.”
Omar’s older brother, 23-year-old Adam Hassan, also trains at the gym and has fought in recent Golden Gloves bouts. In 2012 while fighting in the Air Foce, he was ranked No. 2 in the U.S. military and, as an amateur, No. 10 nationally at 141 pounds. He’s hoping to become a state trooper.
Hassan won a first place trophy at the Newburgh, NY Boxing show this past Saturday, Feb. 23 in a 4-1 victory.
“I’ve been boxing since I was 17, so five or six years on and off,” Adam said. “I was in the military and I boxed on the Air Force team. I was stationed in Illinois and we traveled across the country and fought. Boxing is a life changer. You have to change your diet and do a lot of running, and I just feel better as a person in and out of the ring.”
Earlier this month, Krashna Gibbs, a 21-year-old Peekskill resident who trains at the gym under Marco Serrano, won his first New York Golden Gloves amateur boxing match at the Longwood Police Athletic League in the Bronx.
Gibbs moved from to Peekskill from Jamaica in 2011, where he had already spent several years boxing.
“I won a 5-0 decision. It was a good fight,” Gibbs said. “My next fight is next Saturday, March 2.”
Be First Boxing Executive Director Wes Artope said his fighters put in long hours in the gym to stay competitive.
“The amount of work that you have to put in to excel at this sport is endless and sometimes it can become monotonous when you have to do it day in and day out,” Artope said.
Artope credits his staff of volunteer coaches for helping his fighters develop. One such coach is Serrano, 32, who was a professional boxer in Mexico.
“I started when I was 4 years old when I went to games with my dad,” Serrano said. “I was a professional boxer since I was 14. I had eight knockouts and four losses.”
Artope said that his fighters had plenty of bouts in the near future and hoped to see them continue the positive momentum.
"For a gym that’s a year old, we’re doing very well as far as the level of competition that we are able to compete with,” Artope said.