Sunday, April 20, 2008


The Kingston Police Athletic League (KPAL) boxing show this past Saturday was quite a thrill. The Midtown Neighborhood Center was full of excited spectators waiting for the chance to see the long awaited event.

Held in the Billy Costello Gymnasium, young boxers from clubs all over the state came here and competed against a number of up and coming fighters from Kingston. This was an opportunity to see all the boxers shine.

KPAL started in 2006 by former World Boxing Lightweight champion Billy Costello and Kingston police officer Aaron Fitzgerald. Both Billy and Aaron train young fighters on a daily basis at the center.

Fitzgerald said that the bulk of the PAL boxers are students at either Kingston High or one of the two junior highs. To rest the fears of the boxer’s parents, Individual bouts range for only 3 rounds, two minutes in length, and are overseen by U.S.A. Boxing referees.

Fitzgerald was quoted in the Freeman, “We've got a viable program and recently expanded our Board of Directors," he added “It looks like we'll have some grant money coming in this year and the kids are here regularly working on their skills."

Although this is the third show KPAL has had at the Midtown Center, it’s the first I’ve been able to attend. To see how well KPAL manages this program and the number of kids who are participating on a daily basis, shows me one of the youth programs available to Kingston area youth is well worth funding. The City of Kingston provides a small amount through our annual CDBG allotment.

One of the highlights of the evening was the female match-up. Leah Mitchem, the wife of former U.S. Olympic alternate Brandon Mitchem, did an amazing performance for her first-ever amateur bout. Brandon has been training her. They are both great representatives of the KPAL program.

Jorge Chavez, a Kingston middle school student, was the winner of the 130 pound match-up and Fassel Ahmed who is a Kingston High senior did some amazing throws as well.

Costello said, "This is a great opportunity for our kids to show that they are committed to the sport and to show how much they've learned."

To get your teen involved, contact Fitzgerald at (845) 532-3396

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