Rocky has nothing on Police Officer Chris Matthews of the 62nd Precinct, who competed in the 2018 Brooklyn Brawl Smoker held in the parking lot of Gargiulo’s restaurant and catering hall on West 15th Street between Surf and Mermaid Avenues in Coney Island on Thursday, August 23.
Matthews is following in the footsteps of his father, retired Captain Charles Matthews. His father, a captain with the New York City Department of Correction’s Emergency Service Unit and helped found the department’s “Boldest Boxing” team in 2010. He was also the first boxer to represent the Department of Correction in the 2010 championship at Madison Square Garden.
“My father had started the Corrections boxing team, so when I joined the NYPD I wanted to box on the NYPD side,” Matthews told this paper.
Matthews, who works in the precinct covering Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Gravesend, won his bout against challenger Al Schneider from Ozone Park, Queens’ 106th Precinct. This was Matthews’ second boxing bout for the NYPD.
The Brooklyn-born-and-raised 23-year-old Matthews, who’s been on the force for a year and a half, was especially happy to participate because it was a fundraising event to raise money for the Cops and Kids program.
“It’s a great opportunity for inner city kids to have a place to go to in order to stay off the streets,” Matthews said. “They get to learn discipline and showcase the talents that they have.”
Cops and Kids currently has a gym in Bedford-Stuyvesant and is planning to open another one in the Bronx.
Over 1,000 spectators crowded the parking lot’s makeshift boxing ring with all four of its corners lit by police floodlights. Spectators came to watch members of the NYPD, ESU and Department of Corrections and Police Academy cadets, as well as two police officers from Great Britain, participate in the eight bouts. There were raffles, a hot dog eating contest, and live music. But the best prize of all was watching one of Brooklyn’s own claim victory in the boxing ring.