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The Silver Gloves

Edward Boches | Massachusetts, United States

A young fighter warming up. Boxers often have to wait up to three hours between weigh-in and their bout if the card is long.

On December 10th and 11th, in Lynn, Massachusetts, the New England Silver Gloves Championships took place at the Thurgood Marshall Middle School. Weight classes started as low as 60 pounds (Peewees) and went to 132 pounds (Juniors.)

There is a tendency for people unfamiliar with the sport to think of boxing as violent. Or to believe that the fighters are thugs. At the amateur level, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite its physical and competitive nature, it is a sport characterized by a desire to better oneself – with training, strength, discipline and focus – than it is to hurt someone else.

Young boxers, no matter how determined they may be to land a punch, respect their opponents, the refs and their trainers. Officials – refs, judges, timekeepers and medical staff – all prioritize the safety of the young fighters. And the parents on the sideline are far more polite and respectful than the typical soccer Dads who scream obscenities when they don’t like a call.

In December, 2022, I had the the privilege to photograph the New England Silver Gloves Championships in Lynn, Massachusetts. The event was remarkably well run – from weigh in, to physical exams before and after the fights, to the officiating, to the young fighters who even disassembled the ring when the event was over.

Years ago, Katherine Dunn wrote in Mother Jones that the boxing gym was a place where kindness reigned. “Anyone there will gently wipe another man’s face with a towel, fix his helmet, tie his shoes, massage his shoulders. There is no shadow of impropriety, no question of motive.

The tender, respectful nurturing is absolutely necessary because of one magical ingredient of the game: the gloves. Anyone wearing bulky, fingerless gloves is utterly unable to blow his nose or take a drink of water. Those who are not gloved-up help those who are. From this central fact radiates the whole demeanor of the game.”

That demeanor was evident everywhere at the Silver Gloves.

Edward Boches

bochesphotography@gmail.com

@edwardboches

Edward Boches is a Boston and Cape Cod-based street and documentary photographer. His work has shown in museums and galleries that include the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester; the Bronx Documentary Center in New York City; the Cambridge Association for the Arts; the Plymouth Center for the Arts; the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont; the Providence Center for the Photographic Arts; and in Boston at both the Bromfield Gallery (online) and Panopticon Gallery. 

Boches’s work has also been appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Zeke Magazine and the Provincetown Independent, where he is a regular contributor. Interested in the ways in which ordinary people live, work, play, struggle and take action, he frequently donates his photography to causes and organizations he believes in.

In 2021 and 2022, he received multiple grants for public art installations for his community based project Postcards from Allston, which raises money for local arts initiatives.

He makes it a point to meet and photograph at least one stranger every day.

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