A Place for Everyone

Hartford, CT - 5/19/16. Sharad Collier, 19, hits the heat bag at Bright Futures Youth Center (formerly the San Juan Center). Photo by BRAD HORRIGAN |bhorrigan@courant.com

In the 1980’s the boxing scene in Hartford was a vibrant one. But as three of the four gyms in town had closed by the early 1990s, a void was created. In 1992, the San Juan Center opened (now called the Bright Futures Youth Center) and today is the city’s longest running boxing gym. Within the last few years, two other gyms have opened (with a third on the way), giving Hartford boxing enthusiasts new hope for a boxing renaissance in Connecticut’s capital.
Hartford native John “Iceman” Scully was a successful light heavyweight in the 1990’s. Today, Scully trains aspiring fighters at Bright Futures. “A boxing gym is like a park,” says Scully, “it’s a place for everyone.” Serious fighters can be found in the boxing gym; You have those who are there to get into shape. Others are motivated by not getting beat up in the street. Even little kids, who might be too small for other sports, can be found training.”You never know who could be [working out at] the bag next to you,” says Scully, “could be a kid, could be a two-time champion.”




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