MATT FARRAGO has braved the New York rain to meet me at Morris Park Boxing Club in the East Bronx. For the previous few weeks, the President of Ring 10, a non profit boxing charity, and I have swapped several text messages arranging this meeting, but it’s only while on the congested 5 subway train from Manhattan to the Boogie Down region that a quick scan of Google Images identifies the man I’m supposed to be looking for.
Inside a bustling gym, Farrago stands out. His smart-casual attire is distinct from the routine gym wear that abounds and I’m certain he recognises me due to my clothing selection being similarly inappropriate for exercise. The ex-fighter nods at me like we’re old friends then salutes me with a firm handshake, strengthening his grip like most boxers do. It took me some time to find the place, but I tell Farrago it was easy enough as we engage in some small talk while admiring the fight-show posters that wallpaper the interior.
He suggests a nearby diner so we can talk Ring 10 and, once cosily ensconced, Farrago lights up as he tells me all about the outstanding charity work the organisation has contributed. “We don’t make a single cent from it,” declares Farrago, his eyes hiding behind spectacles fully focused on my notepad to see if I’m transcribing his earnest words. “Every single donation that Ring 10 receives goes straight out helping some boxer out there who needs it. Everything we make is given to the fighters.”