PAWTUCKET â Itâs been said that all good things must come to an end, and for Peter Manfredo Sr., nearly a quarter of a century of running his boxing gym in Pawtucket has heard the final bell.
The longtime owner and trainer of Manfredoâs Gym in Pawtucket wonât be making any more hour-long drives from his Charlestown residence to Conant Street. Instead, he will only need to take a short drive to his fairly new Narragansett center on 140 Point Judith Road to train his boxers and conduct his fitness classes.
After opening his Narragansett business -- Manfredo Boxing Sports Fitness -- last Dec. 1, Manfredoâs goal was to make his presence felt not only in the Blackstone Valley, but also the South County.
But the time and energy to run two gyms a 50-minute drive apart from each other proved to be a very burdensome task for Manfredo, who decided to stay closer to home with his new venture and part ways with his Pawtucket facility.
âI just couldnât do it anymore,â said Manfredo. âI just couldnât make it back and forth. It was tough being back there, over here. My wife, Nicole, found this place in Narragansett, and a lot of people were telling me, âThereâs a lot more money down here. More money for private lessions and training and fitness classes.â I came here in December and weâve been doing pretty good ever since. Weâre doing better than (Pawtucket).â
The last order of business for Manfredoâs Gym in Pawtucket will be on Saturday, June 15 when Manfredo Sr. will open its doors one last time and sell whatâs left of his old equipment to anyone looking for some. Everything is going -- heavy bags, lockers, mirrors, weights, exercise bikes, even his trophy case.
Manfredoâs Gym will no longer cease to exist on Conant Street, but that doesnât mean the second floor will be a ghost town. Tri-Force MMA, which is owned and operated by the Jeffrey brothers, Peter and Keith, and located behind the boxing gym, will still be in business, and boxing trainer David Keefe, who bought Manfredoâs boxing ring, is expected to handle his business there.
âIâm going to take my name off the building and out of the gym pretty soon,â added Manfredo Sr. âItâs definitely going to be Tri-Forceâs place, and theyâre probably going to let David work in the front room over there. I just sold my ring to David.â
Leaving Pawtucket is very bittersweet for Manfredo, a former light middleweight boxer and a kickboxing champion who had made a name for himself in both sports since the late 1970s.
âI had a very good run in Pawtucket,â said Manfredo. âAnywhere you go, you always meet good people, and I met a lot of great people down in Pawtucket and everyone has always been good to me.
âIâve been in Pawtucket and Providence for almost over 30 years. I started my gym in my cellar in 1979 and had guys boxing out of there, but at the end of â83, beginning of â84, I opened a gym on Manton Avenue in Providence.
âIâve been in Pawtucket since â90. That June, I opened a gym on Pawtucket Avenue, and then in 1995, I moved to Conant Street. The guy who sold it to me said it was a really big place, and Iâve always dreamed of running my own shows. I ran a lot of amateur shows and tournaments in that gym.â
The only bad news about Manfredoâs new gym in Narragansett is that it isnât as big as his Conant Street gym, but the pros of his Point Judith Road business clearly outweigh that one con.
âItâs small,â said Manfredo. âItâs only 2,600 square feet, but itâs very clean and I have a lot of new stuff in here. The people are nice around here, thereâs a lot of running areas around here, and weâve very close to the beaches. Iâm right in the middle of Narragansett [Town Beach] and Scarborough Beach, and weâre not even a mile from them. We were recently training on the beach with (boxer) Shelly (Vincent) and a few other fighters.â
Yes, business has been good in Narragansett, not only with the new faces in his studio, but also with his amateur fighters, as well as his three top pro boxers, Pawtucket middleweight standout Thomas Falowo (10-1, 7 KOs), Pawtucket super featherweight prospect Toka Kahn-Clary (5-0, 4 KOs), and Providence resident recently crowned WIBA (Women's International Boxing Association) International super bantamweight champion Shelly Vincent (9-0), who still make the 35-mile drive to South County with no complaints.
See MANFREDO, page C6
âPeople are going to follow me no matter where I go,â said Manfredo. âTheyâre some good gyms in and around this state, but my record with boxers speaks for itself. I had Jason Estrada, Matt Godfrey, my son [Peter Manfredo Jr.], Ossie Duran, Jesse Brinkley, Edwin Rodriguez, Missy Fiorentino, and now I have Thomas, Toka, and Shelly; the list goes on and on and Iâm continuing to develop fighters.
âBut life changes. I moved down to South County and I wanted to work down here where I live. I have a wife and two little girls now and I want to be close to them. Iâm here 9-10 hours a day. I open up, I have my classes, and Iâm training my fighters. Everythingâs been pretty good. Iâm doing all right.â