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Boxer starts club

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BALMAT — A two-time New York State Golden Gloves heavyweight champion is starting a boxing club in the former Balmat school.

“For a boxing gym, it’s absolutely beautiful,” said Gordon N. Griffith. “We’re close to being ready to open the club up.”

The club will be for anyone who wants to learn how to box or train.

“When I wanted to do it, I was driving to Watertown,” Mr. Griffith said. “I know sports kept me out of trouble. I enjoyed it.”

Mr. Griffith lives down the road from the one-time school at Route 812 and County Route 24 in the town of Fowler and often thought it would make a good gym.

“It’s always just sat there and deteriorated away,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Griffith closed on the purchase of the building for $2,500 from Joyce Farley. A contractor, Mr. Griffith put on a roof and replaced the windows and is painting the interior.

Part of the school was removed years ago. What remains is basically two large rooms. The upstairs will house the boxing ring while the downstairs will be wall-to-wall mats for cardiovascular workouts or for wrestling. Peewee wrestling leagues are possible.

“We’re building the ring. We have bits and pieces on order,” Mr. Griffith said. “I’ll have the basics there. I’ve had a lot of people calling me already.”

Boxers buy their own insurance and Mr. Griffith, a certified USA Boxing coach, trains them.

“It’s more like a practice,” he said. “I hope a lot of boxers come out of the woodwork to help.”

Boxers receive personal lessons and use of the equipment. The cost will be $40 per month, which Mr. Griffith said is in keeping with other clubs.

Hours are uncertain but Mr. Griffith said the club will likely be open two to three hours, three to four days a week, depending on his work schedule, whether other coaches are available, and demand.

Mr. Griffith can be reached at 771-5001.

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