Tonawanda News — Neff trains a number of the MMA fighters at the gym as well. He said there is starting to be a lot of crossover between the two sports because people in boxing have taken notice of the sport’s growth and the amount of money that fighters are making.
Frankie Scalzo, a two-time amateur MMA champion and Victory fighter, spars with some of the boxers at the gym, and Neff said that the two sides benefit from each other because the contrasting styles offer different looks.
I see a real distinct style in the two. It’s good to have them spar because boxers are used to sparring boxers and getting the same looks over and over. Then you get these MMA guys that come over and it’s a different style and the guys have to work even harder. MMA guys fight more inside and have their hands lower. They have a more aggressive fighting style.”
Neff, Herbert and Victory promoter Don Lilly hold the City of Tonawanda close to their hearts, as all three grew up in the city.
Neff said that wherever the fighters go, they’re taking Tonawanda with them.
“We really like to push Tonawanda,” he said. “Mitch is from Depew and he’s having his buddies come to Tonawanda all the time. We’re glad to be bringing these fighters here. We’re not as big as we want to be, but if one of these guys ever make it — in boxing or MMA — it could put Tonawanda on the map. That’s what we’re striving and aiming for.”
Neff may not be the one throwing the hooks and jabs anymore, but his impact in and out of the ring, on his fighters, is greater than ever.
Tickets to the Golden Gloves finals are available for $30.Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.