by Ed Rumley
PATERSON — With an undefeated record in 10 professional fights, Paterson’s Ricky Edwards recently moved to Houston to train full-time as he strives for bigger things.
But 25-year-old Edwards didn’t leave the Silk City behind. On Monday, he came back to conduct a free one-night training camp at Paterson’s True Warriors Boxing and Fitness club on 5th Avenue.
Edwards, a graduate of Kennedy High, explained his loyalty to the city where his family moved from Puerto Rico when he was 7.
“I am from a single parent home,” Edwards said. “My mom works as a janitor at a public school here in Paterson. My mom is the reason I do this. When I see her cleaning toilets and tables, it means a lot to me.”
“When I was in school, there was a time when I had to quit boxing because I didn’t have the money to pay my gym dues,” he recalled. “But people kept calling me, so I came back.”
Edwards’ most recent bout was a four-round decision over Azriel Perez at the San Antonio AT&T Center, a fight that was televised on NBCSN. In Houston, he is training as a junior welterweight under former boxing star, Ronnie Shields, and manager Al Haymon. The latter has served as adviser to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Edwards captured three Golden Gloves Champion titles while in high school.
About 50 youngsters attended Monday’s session at the True Warriors club, situated on the second-floor of a nondescript warehouse. An American flag hung from the ceiling rafters. Posters of iconic boxing legends draped the walls. The popping sounds of gloves against mitts filled the air.
In a city where recreational opportunities for youths are in short supply, organizers of the event say camps like the one Edwards conducted are vital.
“We are so glad you are here,” Emmanuel Capers, director of the 4th and Inches Foundation, the event’s sponsors, told parents and eagerly awaiting youngsters. “We want to have fun tonight. Please follow directions. No profanity, no fighting.”
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