You don’t have to go much (or any) further to find Gleason’s Gym nowadays, but you may find its new home in a more convenient setting than it was weeks ago.
The famed Gym, where all-time greats such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Jake LaMotta, and countless others have practiced their distinctive discipline, is now on 130 Water Street in Dumbo right next to the Manhattan Bridge.
Now you can also walk right in, as opposed to taking a trip up the stairs where Gleason’s was previously stationed on the second floor of 77 Front Street.
Saturday was also a very significant event, marking the official welcoming of the new digs, if you will. Gleason’s held its boxing showcase with an 11-fight card thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance, many who probably went home to see Long Island native Joe Smith, Jr. knock Bernard Hopkins literally out of the ring live on HBO.
Happy retirement, Mr. Hopkins.
It was a great night for boxing in New York, and Gleason’s Gym president Bruce Silverglade, who’s relationship with the institution dates back over 30 years called the move a “seamless transition” several times on Saturday night.
“Some people told me it would’ve been easier to move halfway across the country then around the corner, I didn’t find that,” said Silverglade, who was asked about a move well over a year ago. “The construction went very well, the transition has been made, all the frustrations are behind us, I’m a happy camper and we’re going forward from here.”
Billionaire real estate developer David Walentas, who Forbes credited with rebuilding Dumbo nearly three years ago, is still the landlord, and Silverglade could not be more complimentary of Walentas and his son Jed, who will soon takeover for his father.
“They’ve been absolutely fabulous landlords for 31 years, they’ve been excellent,” said Silverglade, nearly cracking a full smile. “I was a little hesitant in the beginningm but now that it’s over I’m tickled to death that we did it.
“I love the location,” he added. “I love the first floor as opposed to the second floor. We’re right next to the Manhattan Bridge here and the underpass where there is a lot of activity, so we get a lot of walk-in traffic. It turned out to be a very successful move.”
As far as the actual fighting went, the bouts began shortly after 6 p.m. Male and female amateur sluggers at all levels and weight classes, from novice 115-pounders to master 201-pounders, competed.
Silverglade, who says he does 18 amateur shows annually, is looking to fit in one more this coming January, which should be the final show before the highly anticipated Golden Gloves in the spring.
“We have the largest amateur club in the country. With that my shows give the amateurs an opportunity to get fights, which are really training experiences or learning experiences,” he said. “If you win or lose on a club show it really doesn’t matter. If you’re in a tournament or Golden Gloves you can’t lose because those are single elimination type of tournaments.”
Nationals are single elimination tournaments, Road to the Olympics, etc.,” he continued. “So these are where the guys and girls get their grassroots, where they get their start, so I put shows on all the time.”
Silverglade, who said he was thrilled with the attendance, will be looking to build on the momentum gathered from last week’s show, and with another one on the horizon it looks like local fight fans will have their boxing hunger fulfilled prior to Golden Gloves.
Follow Bryan Fonseca on Twitter at @BryanFonsecaNY.