Five Salem High students will take part in an amateur boxing show at the high school this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The show is presented in conjunction with West End Gym in Lowell, which was made famous by the “The Fighter,” a movie about the life of Mill City champion boxer Mickey Ward.
West End Gym owner Arthur Ramahlo has been very generous to the young Salem boxers, who have been working hard to prepare for their bouts. Sean McLaughlin, a social studies teacher at Salem High, heads up the program for at-risk kids.
“The boys are very excited to finally be able to put on a show in front of their hometown crowd,” said McLaughlin. “Most of them have fought in either Golden Gloves or Silver Mittens. As far as I know, this is the first time there’s ever been a boxing show at the high school.
“The program was started by Marine ROTC instructor David Flores, who asked me to get involved because I am an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I took it over when Flores left two years ago. It’s designed for at-risk kids to keep them on the right track and in school.”
McLaughlin said the young boxers work on drills and skills at Salem High in an area next to the main gym where speed bags and other equipment have been set up. They also travel to Lowell once a week for organized sparring.
“I’ve been boxing for the last six months,” said Jhonny Portes, a junior at Salem High. “My friends told me about how good the program was, so I decided to give it a try.
“Boxing is one way to help me stay in school. I’m looking forward to this show because it’s a good chance for the community to see what the program is about. We put a lot of work into what we do, and I know it will pay off.