Joey Ramalho jokes with amateurs before a sparring session, Oct. 25, 2015 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ramalho grew up in a boxing family and is now in his seventh year as a head trainer in his father’s gym.
Ozzy dodges the swinging punching bag at West End Gym, Nov. 13, 2015. Old withered promotional posters and photos cover the walls, reminding boxers of gym history and motivating them to achieve their own glory.
Joey Ramalho speaks with Charlie Espinal, 20, (Middle) and some of his other pupils outside the ring, Nov. 13, 2015 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Joey trains hopeful young fighters from pre teens through adulthood, having to adapt his teaching methods based on fighter personality and experience.
Brandon Higgins, 21, wraps his hands before training, Oct. 23, 2015 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Routine and repetition is important when learning boxing technique. Repetition andand he sits on the same bench most days when taping his hands before practice.
Joey directs Charlie to throw more hooks to the body, “I can’t stay away from the gym, I’m addicted to it,” Joey says.”When you’re gone 4 or 5 months and come back… just the smell of it, ya know. My wife thinks I’m gross.”
Nate Rosa thought the officials were joking when he first got on the scales and was told to shave the short stubble in Bellirica Lodge. “It doesn’t make any sense, It’ll take me awhile to grow this back,” he said while laughing.
Tito Morales out of Portland Boxing Club uses his phone to record his stable mate Barry Wilson’s first fight, Nov. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. Often boxers come out to encourage their teammates or watch while shadowboxing, in an attempt to lower pre-fight nerves.
Barry Wilson (left) and Andrew Paltinavich fight in the juniors 85 pound division, Nov. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. After a close fight, premiering amateurs raise their fingers while nervously bouncing, waiting for the decision to be read.
Five of the six Lowell fighters on the card pace and shadowbox in the waiting room before their bouts, Nov. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. Their are many ways boxers prepare before competing, trying to find a balance so they can mentally and physically peak right before walking to the ring.
Donna Melanson, Josh’s,16, mother watches her son from the back of the Bellerica lodge conference room, Oct. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. Despite the empty seats, during her son’s bouts she says she often feels more comfortable standing up. She feels more comfortable each time he fights.
Father (right), Uncle (middle), and family watch Nate Balakin’s bout, Nov. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. After losing the first two rounds they move ringside, hoping for a big comeback round in the third. Nate will lose his second amateur fight by decision.
Marquis Fowler, 21, bounces in the corner after a second knock-down of Manpreet Singh in the first round, Nov. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts.
After a tko win, Marquis Fowler cries on his girlfriend’s arm while Rafael Ramos watches, Nov. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. Marquis won the New England Championship 123-pound Novice Final by second round tko, heading to the finals next month.
Joey and Rafael yell instruction to Joel Rodriguez, Nov. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. Rafael,11, is close by at fights and in the gym, usually bold in his desire to be included.
Nate about to throw his left straight, Oct. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. “You go up these stairs and it’s such a high level, I feel like the biggest thing is that the stage is high, it adds pressure,” he said after the bout. Nate said of his trainer Joey, “He’s super engaged. You can tell he loves every moment of being here. You’ll see trainers that come in but don’t show passion like that. It’s hard to get, there aren’t a lot of people who are nuts for this sport.”
Nate’s cousin raising his arms in the lobby after Nate’s first amateur fight and win as Rita Ramalho watches the embrace, Oct. 20, 2015 in Billerica, Massachusetts. Before the match Paulina, Nate’s mom, describes her emotion, “petrified right now, I should have gone to see him in the gym.” She says, “he told me about it the day before yesterday. Before that I had not known he was training for a match. I think he didn’t tell me on purpose because he knows how I am.” This was her first live boxing match.