Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One-handed boxer set to make pro debut

There have been thousands of stories around the world about athletes with disabilities. After all, the Paralympics showcase these determined people every two years. However, most people have never seen a professional boxer compete with just one hand. That is until now. Thirty-three-tear-old Michael Costantino has a right arm, but he doesn’t have a right hand. That hasn’t stopped him from becoming an accomplished boxer though and his dream will come true on Oct. 27 when he makes his pro debut on a card in Brooklyn, New York.

Costantino isn’t exactly new to the sport as the Queens-based fighter has boxed previously in New York City’s Golden Gloves Tournament on two occasions and even made it as far as the quarterfinals in one of the events. Costantino works as a property manager in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn and will be fighting on a pay-per-view card entitled "Rising Olympian Star in the Big Apple, with Sadam Ali promoting it.

The one-handed fighter said he’s always been in love with boxing and making his pro debut at the Aviator Sports Complex is simply a dream come true. He said he played all types of sports as a youngster and one of his friends got him interested in boxing when he was 16 years old. He believed it to be a hard but beautiful sport, but once he tried it he enjoyed it. He thanks Ali, whom he’s known from the amateurs, for giving him the opportunity to fight on the card and said he’s going to just take things one bout at a time.

Getting a license to turn professional was no problem according to Costantino, and he said he just wants to show the world that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it. That’s why it’s important to be fighting on pay-per-view he said, since people will be able to watch it from the comfort of their own living rooms.
In Costantino’s first big amateur fight he ended it quickly with a series of hooks, but he was stopped in his second bout after he was trapped in a corner and couldn’t fight his way out of it. He went down to his knee twice and the referee finally halted the contest. However, getting knocked out didn’t discourage Costantino since he realized he lost the bout because it was hard to defend himself with just one hand.

The late boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, who was almost as famous as his fighters such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali, said back in 2002 that it doesn’t make sense for a one-handed boxer to be fighting since he won’t have a chance against somebody with two hands. However, the late Bert Sugar, the famous boxing historian and writer, claimed that Costantino was an amazing person and that he had great admiration for his achievements. He added that monuments are often built for people like Costantino. But Sugar also said the young man has already proven that he can fight and should beware of his limitations so he doesn’t get hurt in the ring.

No opponent has been named yet for Costantino and his debut has been scheduled for four rounds. If you’re interested in seeing how he does, the card starts at 9 pm on Oct 27 and is available on several satellite and cable television outlets. The main event will feature the undefeated 23-year-old Sadam Ali (15-0, 9KOs) is as he takes Jermaine White (17-5, 9 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout.

Ian Palmer
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