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Boxing
2006

Amateur boxing stands in the shadow of its show-off professional cousin. Within this world, which I have photographed in a small boxing club-house in Old Church, Somerville (Massachusetts), during the New England Golden Gloves competition in Lowell (Massachusetts), at Johnny Tocco's sweatbox in Las Vegas, and in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I have found something quieter and purer than I thought boxing could be.

Alongside the blood and bruises, exists a relationship between the fighter and the trainer that are as true and loving as relationships can be. The kids who come to the gym are almost by definition at-risk, and what they seek, what they hunger for, is as complicated as love, glory, and survival. I have travelled to Kazakhstan, where Olympic boxing feels new and full of promises, where children practice in large groups for hours at a time. Then I returned to New England, where the Silver Mittens draws scores of boys and girls between the age of eight and fifteen; to the seedy Las Vegas boxing clubs whose walls reek of the desperate sweat of wanna-be's and hangers-on. In each of these worlds I found the story of amateur boxing framed in images of bodies, tiredness, contact, desire, damage, relationship, violence and heart.

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