Battling Braginsky Wins Debut, At Gleason’s Gym Fund-Raiser



Battling Braginsky Wins Debut, At Gleason’s Gym Fund-Raiser

“I won. She came to fight. It was a good fight. Really tough.. but I won by unanimous decision, so I did something right.”

Sarah Braginsky, now 1-0 as an amateur after fighting Thursday night at a Gleason’s Gym benefit


The nerves, how bad were they? Heading into fight night, was there a colony of butterflies who’d stumbled into a meth lab pinballing around in her belly? How was the 23 year old sanitation worker from Queens, whose dad boxed a bit, for fitness, and introduced her to gym life feeling as the hours counted down to her first scrap?

“Calmer than I thought I would be,” said the victor, who was trained by Heather Hardy for her debut, which came at the Give A Kid A Dream benefit, called Fighters4Life, in Manhattan at the Broadstreet Ballroom. “Definitely nervous, but it felt like the same nerves as going into a sparring session.”

She gave us the lowdown on the fight, round by round:

“Round 1, I was surprised, my opponent, Anna Tusa, caught me off guard at first. She really came out, but I moved around a lot and threw my jab. I though it wasn’t my best round but I got a good feeling for the rest of the fight. Round 2, I felt a little more confident. I could hear Heather more and the crowd less and I could start to see that she was tired and my punches might be affecting here. Round 3, I was so tired. It was so hard to keep my hands up and I could feel my punches slowing down. But hers were even slower. She was more tired and I could see that. I could hear her coach yelling, “She’s tired, move forward” and I was just thinking, ‘No, I’m fucking NOT,’ and beating her to it, backing her up and punching before she could. And I really just needed to keep my punches strong and accurate and that’s what I did.”

Then, the waiting. The judges’ card were being tabulated…And then, her name was announced!

“I felt an incredible sense of relief,” Braginsky said. “I went right to my opponents’ coach and thanked him. And then ran to Heather and hugged her…so relieved… I couldn’t even think about what was coming next and when they called my name it was honestly indescribable.”

Coach Hardy related her take on the experience. “She’s a young kid who is using her first fight to relate to real life experiences. For her first sparring session she stood at the ring and looked at me with this terrified face. I said, ‘Baby…. I promise you won’t die!’

Braginsky relieves the torture followed by delight. “I started crying and I ran to Heather and I think she had the same face that I did. Just like tears and smiles, I kept laughing in disbelief. It was an amazing feeling, honestly.”

Boxing…better than church, cheaper than shrink visits. Call Gleason's to get involved.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.