The 5th Annual Victory Charity Ball in Support of the Pinball Clemons Foundation

There was blood and sweat, but no tears. The event was dimmed with hundreds of faces sitting in the shadows, all eyes directed to the square ring lit with a red hue and bright show lights.

Though it seems intense, the energy from the red team fuelled every outlet and brought people up out of their seats to cheer.

The 5th annual Victory Charity Ball in support of the Pinball Clemons Foundation is the most entertaining and action packed boxing fundraiser in Toronto. Business people, activists, family and friends joined at the CBC studios to watch amateur fighters step into the ring and box to win, but most importantly raise funds and awareness for alternative schooling for Toronto youths.

The West End Athletic Club geared up eight fighters in red to take part and represent Team West. Headed by Coach and co-owner, Vinny Cappuccitti, each fighter was built from the ground up, having no previous boxing experience. Over a span of six months, each individual fighter came into the gym nearly everyday to train harder than they ever have before, embodying pure dedication and commitment. From day until night, the fighters learned to change their lifestyles by following a nutritional diet plan and a training schedule in hopes to transform themselves into nothing less than a champion.

The coaching team comprised of: Vinny, Tommy, Sweta, Rob, Soc and Remo pulled their sleeves up and truly put their skills to the test. With patience and intensity, they demonstrate that their training techniques gear to all fitness levels and they are capable of working with anyone. The fighters worked on stamina, cardio, strength, agility, mental-health, reactivity and balance to shape up and exemplify all of the full-body benefits from boxing.

When the day finally came, Team West stepped into the ring with no fear. They walked into the crowded event with fire in their eyes and electric energy in their fists. It was so easy to see that they really wanted to be there, and they really wanted to show everyone how hard they worked to get their bodies to where they stand now.

Although the West End Athletic Club is created through the boxing passion of the Cappuccitti family, the Victory Charity Ball was still a night of firsts for all. The first time Coach Vinny cornered a fight, first time the gym was involved in a competitive boxing event and most impressively, the first time coaching fighters with zero experience in the sport to a competitive level in such a short term.

For the first time in the event’s history, the co-main event was headed by female boxing contenders. Our Cecilia ‘Undefeato’ Divito took on this extra challenge but was not impacted by any intimidation or gendered stereotypes. Her athletic journey started only a few months ago with her first steps coming into West End leading her to her first steps as an amateur fighter into the ring at the Victory Charity Ball.

By the end of the night, Team West brought home three belts and eight champions. Each fighter moved swiftly on their feet, rolled with the punches and channeled the energy of the strangers in the crowd to put out their best fight. They represented the West End Athletic Club with pride, class and pure athleticism.

At West End we leave behind the structure of competitive boxing training, and instead focus on building strength and achieving goals through the experience. Every person that walks through our doors is a part of our community, which is why we care to extend our passion beyond our brick walls and be involved with the Greater Toronto community. The Pinball Clemons Foundation is a great way to merge our two passions of boxing and building community. We are very grateful to have been a part of the event in such great stature and help raise funds to assist youths to re-engage with learning.

A very big thank you goes out to our fighters: Chad Wynter, Cesar Zuluaga, Marcello Aragona, Adam Stapley, Todd Hofley, Cecilia Divito, Sabrina Caruso and Matt Douglas. All of their fundraising efforts, training, dedication, commitment, strength and courage did not go unnoticed by any. Together they formed the perfect team to represent the West End Athletic Club.