Youth is wasted on the young


Frank Shala

The Villages will be hosting a boxing event for the first time since 1998.

Boxing may seem like a young man’s sport, but perfecting the ‘sweet science’ takes time. Some fighters don’t hit their full stride till later in the life, and for others the drive never leaves.

Boxing will be returning to The Villages this coming Saturday, May 10 in what is being dubbed “The Villages Champions.”

“It’s the first boxing event we’ve had here since 1998,” said event coordinator Barbara Vescoe.

The thriving retirement community of Lake and Marion counties will be in for an amateur fight card featuring 12 fights of all ages, with all winners receiving belts.

Among the fights that will be featured Saturday will be a couple in the ‘Masters Division,’ which features fighters that are ages 35 years or older. Two Villages residents Jimmy McDermott, 73 and John Northcott, 51 will each step into the ring.

Northcott, 51 has a martial arts background, and was looking for help in his stand-up fight game. Thats when he reached out to Danny “The Bronx Bomber” Santiago, who owns and runs a popular gym in Ocala, Fl, Central Florida Boxing.

“I’ve been training with Danny since last summer,” said Northcott. “I went in looking to learn stand-up boxing skills, but Danny built me from the ground up.”

Northcott went on to say that- “It’s been an incredible journey. I’ve really learned how to stay composed, and control my breathing.”

Northcott who also works in real estate in the Villages talked how he grew up watching all the great heavyweights and is excited to have this opportunity in his own backyard.

“I’ll probably have 50-60 people there watching me,” said Northcott. “Theres also a lot of ex-fighters here in the Villages, so we’re expecting a great turnout.”

McDermott, a former light heavyweight that won over 50 fights in a professional career throughout the 1960s and early 70s will also step back into the ring. McDermott, who also trains at Central Florida Boxing still stays active and trains several times a week.

The event will be hosted by Santiago, himself a multiple time New York Golden Gloves champion as an amateur, and three-time World Title challenger as a professional. Along with coaching and training his clients at ‘CFB,’ he has put on and hosted many boxing shows and has always had his eye on the Villages.

“He (Santiago) has wanted to come to the Villages for some time now,” said Vescoe. “We’ve talked to him many times over the years, but it just never worked out till now.”

Doors open at 6 PM, with the event beginning at 7 PM at The Savannah Center in the Villages. Tickets are still available through the Villages Entertainment website.