Finding Community At OBC Athletics

By Jose Hernandez

OSWEGO – Inclusion is a massive aspect of Oswego’s Oswego Boxing Club, known as OBC Athletics located at 135 E. Bridge St. in Oswego. While the gym has competitive boxers, they want to make sure that people who come in for health and fitness feel included as well.

Owner Derrick Falcetti grew up in the Oswego community. As a youth, he was a big fan of boxing and had dreams of becoming a World Champion. As he grew older, his dreams shifted from a World title to establishing a boxing gym in Oswego, something it did not previously have.

He decided to invest money and time to give back to the children who could use boxing as a tool in life. The process wasn’t very difficult, but coming up with the money to start the gym was an issue. The gym started with a heavy bag and a tree years ago. Over time they eventually grew to four heavy bags, then eventually building up to their current location.

“The sport of boxing is tough to be profitable to begin with,” says Falcetti. The main goal for Falcetti is to keep the gym up and running. Serving the community is the reward for keeping the lights on. The community has returned the favor by offering their support. Former Mayor of Oswego Billy Barlow has been a large supporter of the gym. The gym has received grants due to his influence. The gym has the family of the amateur boxer’s full support, and they frequently travel with the team to boxing events.

“There were certainly doubts, starting from the ground up I was nervous that it’d be hard to get boxers into the gym.” Falcetti says. He initially wanted to have the gym just for boxers but says it’s not viable to do so. It seems hard to find competitive boxers, and Falcetti says if you are banking on those guys to pay the bills, running a boxing gym is not for you. Though the focus isn’t entirely on the amateur boxers, Falcetti is looking forward to his boxers competing in the Golden Gloves National tournament on Feb 24th.

While the gym has 10 competitive boxers who are active in the gym, they aren’t the only focus of the gym. The gym offers CrossFit classes in the mornings at 6:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. and in the evenings at 4:30 p.m. Youth boxing classes are at 4:15 p.m. and two adult boxing classes at 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. The attendance for the boxing classes is thriving, as members of the community fill up the classes.

The gym currently has an estimated 100 members. Word of mouth is how most people hear of the gym, but they have a strong presence on social media. The CrossFit classes are gaining momentum, with many of the gym’s active members taking part in both classes offered at the gym. Amnesty CrossFit was bought out by OBC Athletics and retains most of the former staff and members. Falcetti believes that the addition of the program augments his boxers, and also his services available to the members of his gym.

Brothers Martin and Santiago Orta are members of the Oswego community and members of OBC Athletics. They both heavily value the community aspect of OBC athletics. Martin competes for the gym at amateur events, while Santiago is active in classes and sparring, but does not compete.

Martin Orta is a graduate from SUNY Oswego, and a future graduate student at Liberty University. Martin is at the gym every weekday for adult classes. He loves the community at OBC athletics. “Second to none, you have a great group of people in this gym.” Martin says. “I always tell people we’re essentially one giant family that’s not related.” Martin mentioned how his lifestyle wasn’t the best prior to joining the gym. When he joined the gym, he said that Falcetti told him you don’t live like that anymore. Martin went on to say that members often see each other outside of the gym, and that it’s a very positive and uplifting environment.

Santiago is a current student of SUNY Oswego studying Operations Management. He considers himself a general member, having taken every class that the gym has to offer. “Since the gym bough Amesty CrossFit, it was easy to incorporate everybody.” Santiago says. He believes that new people have an easy time feeling included in the gym.

Martin says there is a good balance between women and men, and multiple age groups are represented, one member being aged 62. There are flags hanging above the ring, representative of each member’s nationality that has worked at the gym. The biggest aspect that Martin stressed was how happy he felt to be included in a place where people were striving towards positive goals. He admitted to not living the best lifestyle prior to joining the gym, and with the help of Falcetti, turned his life into a better direction.

While most people take being yelled at as a negative experience, yelling is a quite common occurrence from the coaches at OBC Athletics. Though it isn’t negativity being yelled at, it is encouragement and motivation to push oneself to places outside of one’s comfort zone. While they will push one there, sparring and being a competitive boxer are completely optional. While it is encouraged to do the work outs when asked in classes, no one is forced into fighting or being in a position where they don’t feel comfortable.

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