(L-R) – Pepper, Freddie & Joey Roach – Boxing manager Ryan Roach is the latest member of New England’s first family of boxing to be actively involved in the industry.
Roach, naturally, understands his last name translates into instant respect, credibility, and automatically doors open. However, he is determined to establish his own identity and make a name for himself, rather than ride the coattails of his famous uncle, 7-time Trainer of the Year and Hall of Famer Freddie Roach.
“Freddie has an iconic name in boxing,” Ryan explained. “I believe he’s the greatest all-time boxing trainer, but I want to build my name and legacy on my own, instead of riding his shoestrings. We had a private conversation about me being a manager and that he’s only a phone call away for advice.”
Ryan never really had a chance in terms of being in boxing. His father, the late Joey Roach, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2009 at the age of 47, when Ryan was 27. Joey was one of Paul and Barbara Roach’s five sons, who ruled the New England amateur boxing scene for a few decades. Pepper, Allen and Paul were his other fightin’ Roach brothers.
“My dad had an excellent amateur career and 14 pro fights,” Ryan noted. “My father never pushed me into boxing. He got punished in his last fight and he didn’t want me to get involved as a fighter. I ended up trying it when I got older.
“It all started with my grandfather (a 1947 New England featherweight champion who coached his sons) and my grandmother was the first woman boxing judge in Massachusetts. Back in the old days she brought me to fights all over New England. I remember sitting at ringside between her and (Wilbert) ‘Skeeter’ McClure (1960 Olympic gold medalist and former Massachusetts Boxing Commission member).”
Ryan went on to become a Coast Guard veteran (8 active years and 4 in reserves) and today he serves as a Lieutenant in the Boston Fire Department. A year ago, almost by accident, he became a licensed manager and opened his agency, Fighter Locker. He attended a video shoot to support a friend, boxer Mark DeLuca, where he met a young boxer, Khiry “TNT” Todd. Coming off his first pro loss, Todd hit it off with Ryan and asked him to join his team. They spoke for 6 months and after consulting veteran boxing manager Steve Feder, who he met through Freddie, Ryan signed Todd to a managerial contract and he’s steadily grown since then in the boxing business.
Fighter Locker’s growing stable of diverse professional boxers include, in addition to Lynn, MA super welterweight Todd (10-1, 8 KOs), Dominican welterweight Juan Carlos “Merenque” Abreau (23-5-1, 21 KOs), the former IBF Youth World super lightweight champion; Ukrainian super welterweight Stanyslav Skofokhod (19-2, 16 KOs), the reigning NABA super welterweight champion; Dorchester, MA welterweight Gabriel Duluc (15-3, 4 KOs), Albany, NY welterweight RayJay Bermudez, Toronto, Canada welterweight Jeff “The Trouble 1” Tabrizi (8-3, 7 KOs), plus Kazakhstan National Team light heavyweight Alexey Sevostyanov and Irish National champion Paul Ryan, who will fight as a welterweight. The latter two boxers are preparing to make their pro debuts.
“I treat my guys like they’re family,” Roach remarked. “Word travels fast in boxing and I started signing guys, A lot of them reached out to me on social media. Having boxers from so many different countries was by chance.”
The boxing shutdown due to the pandemic has adversely effected Roach like everybody else. He was negotiating to sign three local fighters and talking to several promoters about signing his boxers.
“Most of them are (promotional) free agents right now,” Roach concluded. “I want them to feel like family. They’ve all loyal to me and deserve a shot. They all dream of being world champion. I pride myself on always doing right by my fighters. It all comes with hard work and doing the right thing. I encourage them to get involved in charity work, too, because I believe that it’s important. I want to keep growing but keep Fighter Locker’s stable relatively small for now, so that each fighter can get all the attention he needs. I don’t want to get too big. I want to help bring boxing back to the old days in New England.
“During this pandemic, I can’t watch them in the gym or at training camp, but I reach out to all of them on a weekly basis to ask about their health, and to make sure they’re staying active. There’s no sparring, of course, but they need to be ready for when boxing returns. They’re working out at home, because they need to be ready, as ready as they can be, when the call comes (for a fight). We’re keeping open lines of communication.”
Roach is also heavily involved in the Metropolitan Boston community as the founder of two worthy charities, Punch4Parkinsons (www.punch4parkinsons) and Boxing 4 Kids.
The 38-year-old Roach also easily relates with his fighters, many of whom aren’t too much younger than him, certainly more than older managers who may not take as much advantage of modern technology and social media as Roach.
The latest Roach in boxing is named Ryan and it’s a safe bet that boxing people will soon know him on a first-name basis.