The 16th Gleason’s Gym Fantasy Boxing Camp went off without a hitch, from Aug. 9-12, and by all accounts, the event once again stood out for campers as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which has provided them with loads of pleasant memories.
New Jersey resident Roderick (Rod) Le Brew, age 54, took part in his first camp, which was put together by Gleason’s bossman Bruce Silverglade.
Born and raised in Philly, Le Brew is an executive at a large insurance company. Married, he and wife Sheila attended the camp, and the missus even got some sparring in, on Saturday night, against Heather Hardy.
I was curious how he found out about the camp.
“I have been a big fan of boxing since my early days growing up in Philadelphia,” Le Brew told NYF. “Seeing local boxers like Joe Frazier, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Frank “the Animal” Fletcher and later Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Mark Breland was a big part of my childhood. I have been involved in martial arts all my life (karate, BJJ, etc.). About six years ago I started training at a boxing gym, Shraims Academy in Bridgewater, NJ owned Ahmed Shraim. Ahmed and his staff are great instructors and friends.”
And did he start out a boxing fan? “I am a big boxing fan now. And a huge Mark Breland fan having followed him through his amateur career and Olympic gold medal.”
And how did he get involved in boxing? “I am looking to start participating in Masters Boxing tournaments and discovered the fantasy boxing camp through an internet search, on the Gleason’s website.”
“This was my first camp,” he told me, and then offered a tale on how his wife got the boxing bug. “My wife was supposed to attend as a non-participating guest. Bruce allowed Sheila to participate in some of the boxing activities and she quickly became hooked. Keep in mind that Sheila has ZERO boxing experience. She ended up participating in “all” of the activities and was matched against Heather Hardy on the Saturday night boxing card. Heather was great working with Sheila and we got some great photos and video of the match.”
Sounds like it all went well?
“I cannot be happier with the experience. The people, facilities, instruction were all top notch. Trainers, fellow campers, Bruce and staff were the nicest people to talk to. A special thanks to trainer Hector Roca (posing below with Le Brew)…
..who shared many funny and fascinating boxing stories with my wife and me!”
Can Le Brew single out one highlight?
“The highlight for me was being match against Mike Etienne in the Saturday boxing card. As you probably know, Mike is a trainer at Mendez Gym and has superior skills. Leading up to the match, I was nervous knowing that I had to spar a really good boxer in front of a crowd. Mike definitely got the best of me, but I think I had a few good moments during the match. It was an honor to spar with Mike. After the match, I spent time with Mike and learned a little about his back ground, he’s a Marine Corps veteran and personal trainer. Mike invited me to train with him at Mendez. I’ll be taking him up on that offer soon!”
What did he take away from the experience?
“Gleason’s Fantasy camp is on the schedule for next year and beyond,” he stated. “My network of boxing enthusiasts has grown. Mike E. and I will train together at Mendez in the near future, I will visit Gleason’s in NYC to do Saturday sparring and meet up with Hector Roca, Iran Barkley (seen pictured above with Le Brew), and Bruce, just to keep in touch. I have more motivation to improve my boxing skills with a goal to start participation in Masters Boxing tournaments. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with a great group of people!”