In an intense fight most won’t forget, NRPD officer Chris “Stigs” Castiglia of Champs Boxing Club in New Rochelle advances to the quarter finals in a fist to cuff Golden Gloves victory for New Rochelle. Hammering down boxer Ken Nolan representing Judah Bros Boxing Gym of Brooklyn, “Stigs” was fast and furious in the ring taking home a unanimous 5-0 win in the super heavy weight novice division.
As the bell rang ringside at the Harlem PAL, both boxers entered the ring in full fledged battle hitting each other so hard the crowd was up on their feet watching an all out war begin in the first round. Blow after blow Castiglia was swift on his feet blocking swings from his opponent and landing hard rights keeping him at arms length. After receiving a hard hit toward the end of round one, Stigs was administered an 8 count while the referee evaluated to see if he was fit to continue. When the ref saw he was fine, it was apparent that Castiglia had it solidified in his head that Nolan couldn’t beat him. The gloves were off and Stigs powered his way through the first round pounding on Nolan knocking him around the ring. From the corner, Castiglia’s coach Ryan O’Leary shouted “Hands up and jab!” “Throw punches first!”. Stigs and Nolan pummeled each other until the very last second the round came to an end. Entering the 2nd round, Stigs hauled off a shot to Nolan’s face sending his head backwards and off his feet stumbling toward the ropes. Stigs jabbed and and Nolan came back with a punch that drew blood from Castiglia. The harder Castiglia got hit, the harder he went after Nolan. Mad and dangerous, Stigs swung left and hard right landing shots at Nolans body and chin coming back strong. From the corner your heard “Stay on him he’s tired! He’s tired” …Be First Stigs!” Blood dripping down his face, Stigs fired back at a tiring opponent ending a furious round 2.
Chris “Stigs” Castiglia went into round 3 dominating a roughed up Nolan, a younger, powerful and experienced boxer. Keeping his hands up and watching every move Nolan made, Castiglia refused to give his opposition an opportunity to get a shot in that would prevent him from winning. Focused and steady, fighting his way through with a broken nose, Stigs hammered away using intestinal fortitude and power behind every strike at Nolan. Stumbling and tired Nolan danced around the ring receiving jab after jab and hugging Castiglia. Unleashing powerful hits throughout the round, Stigs continued to defend himself to a momentous Daily News Golden Gloves win that had everyone attending the Harlem PAL up and cheering. This win carries Chris Castiglia to compete into the NYS Golden Gloves quarter finals. That date is to be announced .
Castiglia began boxing less than 2 years ago boxing his first bout as part of a charity event involving NRPD and NRFD, losing to a close decision. Training under Ryan O’Leary with Champs Boxing Club (Willie’s Champs) along with partner and Assistant Coach Willie Soto, Stigs makes the cut off age to compete in amateur boxing at a senior level making him one of, if not the oldest boxer in the NYS Daily News Golden Gloves tournament. With only 6 fights on his record and 34 yrs old, that makes Castiglia’s wins that much more impressive when you consider he’s boxing against competition that could be almost half his age. Maintaining a fit physique having used boxing as a means to get in shape, Stigs has lost over 30 lbs and will continue his training representing Champs Boxing Club (soon to have their grand opening around April 1st at 44 Potter Avenue, NR) as he moves into the next phase of the Golden Gloves Competitions. Stigs biggest assets are his heart, determination and tireless work ethic. When Castiglia feels the power of his opponents, he is most dangerous. The better they are, the better he performs.
Ryan O’Leary, head coach and owner of Champs Boxing Club has been a boxing coach since 1991, was an amateur boxer himself with a 47-17 record from the age of 11 to the age of 28. O’Leary trained at the Cage Teen Center in White Plains, by Hershel Jacobs, Charlie Caserta and Kid Sharkey. Ryan also trained with heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson at the Huguenot Boys Club in New Paltz. O’Leary has trained hundreds of boxers, many of them becoming tournament champions or nationally ranked amateurs and he currently works with four professionals and 26 amateurs. Ryan is currently on the Board of Directors of USA Boxing which is the governing body of all amateur boxing in the country. Every amateur boxer, coach or club in lower NY has to be licensed through Ryan. Overseeing and working with the New York Athletic Commission monitoring and stopping illegal boxing matches that aren't properly sanctioned by USA Boxing is O’Leary’s job. Ryan O’ Leary has been a team coach for the US Nationals in Colorado as well as a boxing historian and member of the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canasota, NY.
Assistant Coach and partner Willie Soto has been involved in boxing for most of his life and works closely with Stigs on a regular basis training. He’s currently 83 years old and gives Castiglia a run for his money, getting in the ring with him and sparring to other days taking it easy and riding his bike for 40 miles when the weather permits. Willie has coached dozens of amateur and world champion boxers and is most famous for his role as a professional cutman. (corner guy who takes care of injuries boxers receive during fights). WIllie has been the cutman for many of the biggest and most widely televised professional boxing matches over the last 30 years. Willie’s heart and dedication to boxing has kept his spirit young and made him an extremely popular coach to many boxers much like Stigs.
Castiglia will continue representing Champs Boxing Club and train under O’Leary and Willie Soto at Champs Boxing Club’s gym located at 44 Potter Avenue in New Rochelle. The official opening date is on target for April 1st. Questions about the gym and classes will be posted on the Champs Boxing Club Fan Page on Facebook and also at 917-373-9220. The facility will have a full sized boxing ring, 8 heavy bags, three bag hooks, speed bags, double end bags, and much more, as well as treadmills, elliptical machines and other various equipment. They will be offering anti-bully programs, boot camps, abs classes, heavy bag classes, womens’ and kids classes, and much more.
Photo credit Jen Parente