Training for Battle of the Bricks, set for April 6 in TD Arena. Photo provided.

Smack! Krunch! Kapow! Crack! Splaat! Thunk!!!

Twenty-eight of the Lowcountry’s most determined amateur boxers will meet April 6 in 14 three-round matches to try to raise $100,000 for charities to help students and sick children.

It’s called the Battle on the Bricks, and it’s going to be rollicking good fun as male and female boxers square off for an exciting evening of sweat, power, strategy and brawn.

“All of our boxers have used this event as a way to challenge themselves to the maximum of their abilities,” said Ryan Eleuteri, a local entrepreneur known for founding Charleston Mix Bloody Mary mixer. “They have full-time jobs, friends and families and they are still getting into these gyms to train six to seven days per week — sometimes for two hours a day.”

But their physical commitment extends to a genuine enthusiasm for the event’s two charities, the MUSC Children’s Hospital and the College of Charleston Athletic Fund.

“They all genuinely care about these charities,” Eleuteri said. “Carey Brewbaker, one of our competitors, is actually a doctor at MUSC. Mark Hodsdon, another one of our competitors, has a close friend whose daughter is currently being treated for neuroblastoma at the hospital.

“Several of our boxers are CofC graduates who have had friends who received scholarships at the school and know what an impact that has had.”

About the April 6 event

Training for Battle on the Bricks, which will be April 6 at TD Arena. Photo provided.

Competitors are hoping to raise $100,000 at the April 6 event on behalf of the Charleston Boxing Foundation, a nonprofit set up in 2022. As of March 20, the event had raised more than $58,000.  

  • Click here to donate or support a boxer. (Some VIP tickets and tables are left.)

The three-hour event, which starts at 7 p.m. at the CofC TD Arena, will feature 14 matches.  Each match will be three rounds lasting 90 seconds each.

“These are USA Boxing-sanctioned bouts, all with referees and judges,” Eleuteri said. “I’m sure the boxers would love to knock out their opponent, but it will be a challenge as they will have on head protection for safety. These boxers have been training since December and are all true amateurs.”

Boxing has a rich Lowcountry history. Smokin’ Joe Frazier, a world heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973 was born in Beaufort and was often seen in Charleston riding in a Cadillac with relatives. Today, four local boxing clubs — Team Back Bay and Charleston Boxing Club, both in downtown Charleston, Hurricane Boxing on James Island; and Savage Boxing Academy in North Charleston — are helping to train amateurs for the Battle on the Bricks.

“What we’ve learned through this process is that boxing is an event that gets people genuinely excited — whether it’s the competitive nature of the bout or the fact that the fights are one-on-one,” Eleuteri said. “It has a bit of a gladiator story to it.  People love the story lines — the underdog or the pull-myself-up-by-my-bootstraps stories.  Boxing just connects — no pun intended — with people unlike anything else.”

What three boxers say

Nelson “Myrtle” Burch, a 34-year-old Team Back Bay boxer whose fight weight is 185 pounds, said he is participating in the Battle on the Bricks “to raise money for those less fortunate than I am and to provide inspiration for those who are fighting a disease every day.” He added he wants to help to give more opportunities to future CofC athletes through scholarships.

Getting ready to train. Photo provided.

Brewbaker, the 36-year-old MUSC anesthesiologist, also trains at Back Bay Boxing. He fights at 190 pounds and recalls being reluctant at first “because it is out of my comfort zone and I have no experience with boxing or wrestling. However after some thought, I said ‘Why not?’ It will be a new challenge and a unique experience that requires discipline towards the goal of being the best boxer I can be in three months’ time while raising money for two great causes in the community.”

M.J. Juergens, a female boxer who trains at Hurricane Boxing, says on the Battle on the Bricks website that she feels honored to raise money to help life-saving researchers work with children who have serious medical conditions. 

“My sister spent six years at MUSC, working in the pediatrics unit,” Juergens said. “There, she gained first-hand knowledge of the efforts and sacrifices made on these young patients’ behalf. 

“As her sister, it is a privilege to help raise awareness and financial support for such an organization. I know that the staff at MUSC Children’s Hospital works tirelessly to aid the children in their struggle for recovery, and I am humbled to fight by their side for a cause that is bigger than all of us.”

What makes the whole event just plain cool

L-R: Event Boxing Director Hunter Brinson, Charleston Boxing Gym Coach Darren ‘Broadway’ Whitaker, Back Bay Boxing Coach Johnny Murray, urricane Boxing Coach Michael Golemis, Savage Boxing Academy Coach Minuen May and Battle on the Bricks organizer Ryan Eleuteri. Photo provided.

While Eleuteri didn’t grow up with boxing — although he easily recalls taking punches from older brothers, Boxing Director Hunter Brinson has been around boxing in Charleston since age 12 when he learned at Hurricane Boxing, one of the clubs involved in the April 6 event.

“I fell in love with the sport right away,” he said. “The confidence and motivation it gave me growing up made me the man I am today. All thanks to Coach Michael Golemis.

Eleuteri said he and his event partner have friends and family who continue to be helped by the professionals at MUSC Children’s Hospital.

“They do amazing work every day and bring so much hope to families throughout the area,” he said. “And the scholarship fund at the College is another local charity that provides opportunities to people we both know and care about. 

“The event has given us a chance to connect groups of people that may have never met with some great organizations, as well bring attention to some local gyms that are a big part of our community.”

Bottom line: Both are thrilled  that the event is coming to reality to provide help to two great charities — and to shine spotlights on boxing athletes who work hard every day.

“For the both of us, the coolest thing about the whole event has been the opportunity to form relationships with these boxers and coaches,” Eleuteri said. “They are an incredible group of individuals who have made a commitment few people would have the courage to make. 

“They put themselves in a ring with another individual in front of thousands of people and lay it all the line. The coaches have dedicated themselves to the boxers, and to the event — and have given so much of their time to ensure its success. When it all comes down to it, the boxing community is a big family, and getting to be a small part of it has been the biggest reward.”

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