The Clash in Canarsie: Pro boxing comes to local gym

Game face: Right, trainer Yoel Judah has spent the last two decades bringing up boxers such as Francis Cooper.
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It’s the Battle of Brooklyn — but this time, the whole borough wins.

Pacplex gym in Canarsie is hosting a professional boxing event on May 17 called “The Battle of Brooklyn,” and several boxers making their pro debut are part of a program that gets kids off the streets and into the ring.

Their trainer said the program gives the once-wayward pugilists more than a fighting chance at following the straight-and-narrow.

“Now they’ve got something to fight for. Now they’ve got something to believe in,” said Yoel Judah, professional trainer and patriarch of the Judah boxing clan.

Judah has spent the last two decades bringing up boxers — even training his own son, five-time world champion Zab Judah. And some of his latest charges will be barreling into the ring on May 17.

Brooklynites David “Flat” Sparks and Obafemi Bakari will make their professional debuts at The Battle, Judah said.

The mentor and coach has been training the young men from dawn to dusk almost daily at his East New York gym to prepare them for their breakout matches, he said.

The training is part of the Atlas Cops and Kids Boxing Program, which pairs youth ages 10–21 with certified USA Boxing coaches, said fight promoter Sal Musumeci of Final Forum Boxing.

Musumeci praised Judah for his philanthropy.

“He’s a trainer at the highest level, and he’s still giving back to the community,” said Musumeci.

Expect nine to 10 bouts on May 17, as well as food and drinks in the box seats, said trainer Tommy Dades, a former cop who coached Staten Island contender Anthony Cammarano.

Judah said the glitz and glamor of a boxing match is nice, but he’s in it for the karma.

“I love giving back, and boxing is the way,” he said. “I’ve got nine sons — all of them box — they all turned out pretty good,” said the trainer, who sired cops, construction workers, and a champion fighter.

“The Battle of Brooklyn: A Revolution in Boxing” at Pacplex [1500 Paerdegat Ave. North between Paerdegat 15th Street and Seaview Avenue in Canarsie,, (516) 343–0053]. May 17 at 7 pm. $50-$200.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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