Written by Vinny Messana, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 24 April 2014 09:54
There was a time when boxing was the hottest ticket in town. People cleared their schedules to watch famous fights such as Ali-Frazier and Duran-Leonard. Even the motion pictures that portrayed prize-fighters were box-office hits. Local professional boxer Anthony Karperis may be able to play a hand in turning the clock back, if he continues to make an impact in the ring.
Nowadays, boxing has been surpassed by MMA—specifically UFC—in popularity. Karperis, a native of Hicksville, feels that the product has become diluted due to the ubiquity of the competitions.
“Sometimes too much could be a bad thing,” he said in regards to the frequency of the UFC events. “It’s almost become a mega-sport. Maybe it’s not on the popularity level of baseball and football but I feel like you can turn on the television any night of the week and watch a fight. It's too much for me.”
That is not the case with boxing. The big events are becoming increasingly rare and the amount of stars has been rapidly decreasing. Still, that doesn’t mean the sport is dead.
“Boxing is very much alive,” said Karperis, a 2006 graduate of Holy Trinity High School. “Floyd Mayweather still makes money. There’s still plenty of money to be made in the sport.” Karperis still has a long way to go to approach an undefeated welterweight champ like Mayweather, but he has a point. A recent ESPN survey revealed that Mayweather banked an incredible $73.5 million in 2013, highest of any professional athlete in the world. The sport has sent the message that if you are successful and marketable, you will become wealthy.
Some people still do it for the love of the game, like Karperis. The 2010 graduate of Hofstra University first became interested in boxing at the age of 17 when he watched a fight between Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward, a bout which ended up being the basis for the 2010 film The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg.
Up until that point, Karperis had only been interested in mixed martial arts, especially kick boxing and jiu-jitsu. He had been training at Tiger Schulmann.
Karperis caught on so quickly that he won the Golden Gloves, a competition between amateur fighters, in 2008 at age 19. “Winning it was a big deal to me back then,” said Karperis. “Looking back on it now, it’s still a great accomplishment.”
He began taking his career seriously from that point. He hired a trainer and worked hard. He has now fought in eight professional fights (6-2 record), but feels that he is more experienced than his record would suggest.
“I’m only in my ninth fight,” said Karperis. “But I feel that I have been through a lot. I’ve knocked people out. I’ve dealt with wars. I’ve learned a lot already.”
He has also experienced a fair share of injuries. Karperis currently has a torn ligament in his thumb, which has caused a problem with training. He stated that he has had to focus primarily on cardio because the pain was too great when practicing with the punching bag. He also will be undergoing nose surgery, which is not uncommon for boxers.
Karperis is looking forward to how much better of an athlete he will become with his new trainer, Billy Desser. “I have good speed and reflex and I feel that he has brought out the best in my abilities,” Karperis said.
Karperis was scheduled to fight next weekend at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, but his torn ligament will cause him to have to sit out. Despite the set back, he looks forward to continuing to train and make Hicksville proud as he makes his mark on the boxing world.