By GREGORY ZELLER //
The countdown is on to what is arguably Long Island’s most entertaining annual charity event, and undeniably its most pugilistic.
More than 300 friends, family members, sponsors, fans and well-wishers turned out Oct. 22 at the Mansion at Oyster Bay for the “Boxer Matchup” portion of the 16th annual Long Island Fight for Charity – and eyes now turn to fight night, scheduled for Nov. 25 at the Hilton Long Island in Huntington.
The LI Fight for Charity, self-billed as “the nation’s only all-volunteer charity boxing event,” pits men and women from throughout the Long Island business community in one-on-one boxing matches – lots of training and protective gear provided – with donations raised by the pugs and the proceeds of the yearly Main Event extravaganza benefitting a trio of Island-based charities.
Since its founding in 2003, the annual Main Event – which features not only raining blows but a flood of fine foodstuffs, served cart-style by some of Long Island’s top restaurateurs and caterers – has raised more than $1.4 million for the Long Island Community Chest, the Genesis School in East Meadow and the Old Bethpage-based National Foundation for Human Potential.
And with nine amateur bouts (three rounds each) set for Nov. 25, the 2019 card “will have a lasting positive impact on the lives of adults and children directly, and those who are supported by our benefiting nonprofit organizations,” according to Long Island Fight for Charity co-founder Jeff Cohen, who launched the Huntington-based 501(c)3 in 2002 with partners Matt Silver and Jamie Austin.
“It takes a special person to train and take punches for charity,” Cohen said. “We encourage all Long Island community members to pick a boxer and assist them to reach their fundraising goals.”
The 18 combatants have already been in the fight game for months, training – together and separately – and garnering donations. The Oct. 22 Boxer Matchup was a weigh-in of sorts, revealing each boxer’s opponent on the big night.
“The Boxer Matchup is the last event before our charity boxers make the final push to raise funds and train for the 2019 Main Event,” Cohen noted. “Now that they know their opponents, it’s time for them to reach their $10,000 fundraising goal.”
Punching in this year:
- Alden “The Incredible Hatch” Peffer, a major accounts manager at Windstream Enterprise in Melville, taking on Joseph “Deal Maker” Vozza, an attorney in private practice in Melville.
- Asher “The Berkshire Basher” Allweiss, a licensed real estate salesperson with Berkshire Hathaway Laffey International Realty in Woodbury, squaring off against Baris “The Turkish Titan” Oztimurlenk, a social media specialist with Core BTS in Hauppauge.
- Karen “Angel Gloves” Scutellaro, a veteran business development manager, putting it all on the line against Virginia “Guns and Buns” DeCeglia, a senior software developer with Financial Force in West Babylon.
- Bert “The Collector” Lurch, CEO of E. Central Medical Management in New Hyde Park, facing two-time Long Island Fight for Charity warrior Adam “The Hard Drive” Schwam, president and owner of Sandwire Managed IT in Farmingdale.
- Mike “All Business” Dellaquila, also a returning fighter and owner of Elite Fitness and Dellaquila Properties in Locust Valley, throwing hands with Charles “The People’s Champ” Castro, an associate of RCI/Vivid NY.
- Phil “The Punisher” Sorrentino, a Long Island/Metro New York specialist with Dupont Tyvek in Farmingdale, slugging it out with Dominick “The App Man” Bianco, CEO of Kubera Management Corp. in Farmingdale.
- Jenna “Breaking News” Natale, events manager at Long Island Business News in Ronkonkoma, swapping leather with two-time Fight For Charity slugger Sarah “Big Mama” Walters, a teacher at Long Island Lutheran High School in Glen Head.
- Shannon “In Good Hands” Chisholm, a licensed sales producer with Zabbia Insurance Agency in Massapequa, lacing up against Tabetha “The Pit Bull” Pradel, a mortgage loan originator with Contour Mortgage Corp. in Garden City.
- And Vincent “Vin Bones” Melillo, a salesperson with FBA National in Huntington, duking it out with Mikey “Boom Bots” Zaharios, a substitute teacher and coach in the South Huntington Union Free School District
Local businesses and professional firms sponsoring this year’s Long Island Fight For Charity include FBA National, Freedom Mortgage, EmPower Solar, Barnes Iaccarino & Shepherd LLC, Alure Home Improvements, Lessing’s Hospitality, Sandwire, PinkTie and Core BTS.
Sponsorship details, ticket pricing, registration and more information about the Nov. 25 Main Event available here, or call (877) 240-7821.