Boxing pair bring fighting chance against addiction
"Lucky" Lewis and Emily Denhoed hope to glove up at every boxing gym in New England and New York, and take on addiction through training charity.
Kevin “Lucky” Lewis and Emily Denhoed hit the road several times a week to rumble on a boxing club crawl, exploring, sparring and fighting for those in recovery all over New England and New York.
“We’re hard to keep up with,” Kevin “Lucky” Lewis said. “Doesn’t matter who we end up training with or sparring with — if they’re from big cities or tiny towns. They all have unique vibes and concepts, but the love of the sport is the same everywhere.”
The pair of platonic pugilists run a recovery training course out of Bancroft Boxing in Framingham for folks looking to gut it out in the ring rather than scrounge for life-ruining substances
“I’ve been doing this for years, before [Emily] wanted to join the roadshow,” Lewis, a former addict said. “People’s schedules never matched mine or the discipline was hard to maintain. We try to hit the road on Tuesdays and Saturdays.” Their travels have brought them to about 75 rugged gyms — from sweatboxes to state-of-the-noble art gyms from their home base in Framingham to Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New York with 50 more to go in New England. If the doors are locked, and it’s on to the next nearest spot after a quick Google search.
The nationwide camaraderie of the boxing community knows no bounds, as the duo have been welcomed at gyms in both the heart of big cities and way out the sticks, where they encountered dedicated gym rats, rappers who battle on the mic and in the ring, weekend warriors and ambitious amateurs hoping to make a name for themselves in sanctioned bouts.
“Eight of us got an AirBNB in Brooklyn and hit four gyms in one day last February,” Denhoed, a full-time mother of two, said. “If we have a window of time, we try to fill it. Great Barrington out in the Berkshires is probably the most boonies kind of setting where we’ve found a gym, New York City is obviously a major city. Some have been gritty and grimy with a rugged vibe, others have been pristine and more modern.”
Some gyms feature unlikely melees, like a pair of knights dueling at an anti-addiction charity fight night event in Boston
For the last two years, Lucky has run a 501c3 non-profit group Fighting’ Addiction recovery classes three nights a week with over 120 people fighting off the evils of addiction.
“In the recovery world, they talk a lot about mental, physical and spiritual experiences,” Lucky said. “The spiritual aspect, you hear a ton about. The mental is something that comes next, but I don’t think the physical aspect of recovery gets enough attention. I’ll never take away from recovery meetings, step work, written work, anything like that. But I see that physical health often gets neglected and I want to bring a positive outlet for people who want to explore that part of recovery.”