Professional boxing is making a comeback in Hartford next Saturday.
Hartford Boxing Promotions is putting the spotlight on the sport with the first ever pro-boxing match at the Xfinity Theatre.
Channel 3 Eyewitness Sports Reporter Caroline Powers met with some of the athletes who are taking center stage.
Each week, 21-year-old Hartford resident Sharad Collier dedicates his time to getting bigger and stronger.
“Coming to this gym has probably been one of the best things to happen to me,” said Collier.
Up until six years ago, Collier said the Hartford Boxing Center is the last place you’d find Collier.
“When I was about 15, me and my brother we got in trouble for fighting,” explained Collier. I was just heading in the wrong path and boxing changed my life. Once I started boxing, it taught me discipline. I just came to the gym, my trainer used to tell me every day, ‘you have to work hard for what you want in your life.’”
With every hook, jab, and punch, the Hartford Boxing Center is helping young athletes knock out their negative behavior and gain strength.
“My goal is to become a successful, professional fighter. I want to make this my career,” said Collier.
Collier said his hard work and positive lifestyle change has led him to making his professional debut this weekend alongside Richard “Popeye the Sailor Man” Rivera.
“I'm always trying to teach them that boxing is a way of life. So, when you go in there, try to display the best person you can be,” coached Rivera.
Rivera and Collier said while boxing may seem aggressive, they said it helps to build character and discipline, just like any other sport.
“It's an art, it's a dance. You're trying to perform a display of your own character,” said Rivera. “You're going in there with the will to win.”
Collier said it is a skill that requires not only physical strength, but mental and emotional stability while in the ring.
“It's not just about who is faster or who is stronger, it's really about who is smarter in here,” said Collier. “There's a lot of technique and hard work you have to put in.”
For tickets and information on the fight night and future events in the Capital, click here.
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