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Put ‘Em Up For Charity

Biz owners set to raise funds with fists

The Plainview-Old Bethpage community will be well represented when a group of Long Island business leaders step up and into the ring for charity next month.

A variety of causes stand to benefit from the 10th annual Long Island Fight for Charity at the Hilton Long Island in Melville Nov. 25, as 20 fighters take a break from their day jobs as landscapers, marketers, construction workers, attorneys and more to enter the squared circle and become pugilists for a day for a cause.

The first $10,000 raised by each contender and half of every dollar raised thereafter will go to The Genesis School, for people with autism; Long Island Community Chest, which offers short-term financial assistance to needy families; and the National Foundation for Human Potential, which provides support for people with disabilities.

The other half of each dollar raised over $10,000 will go to additional charities of the contestants’ own choosing. Long Island Fight for Charity had donated $700,000 to Long Island charities since 2003 and organizers believe this event is expected to sell out and break previous records.

Sal “The Hammer” Ferraro, a resident of Commack and president of Alure Home Improvements headquartered in Plainview, with a location in East Meadow, will face Kevin “Spider” Kelly, chief creative officer of BigBuzz Marketing Group in Melville and a resident of Plainview.

This will be Kelly’s second foray into charity boxing, having participated in last year’s event. He said the event fits right into his company’s philanthropic aim.

“It’s hugely important for businesses to find a channel to give back and show the community we are deeper than our mission to make money,” he said. “The organizers change the lives of everyone involved in this, including the boxers ‑ I lost 30 pounds since joining.”

Kelly trains at Fitness Through Boxing in Dix Hills, where he pounds the gym working on cardio, abs and technique. He also spars at the gym, which he said helps relieve some of the pre-match butterflies.

“When that bell rings, you feel that rush of adrenaline. It’s for charity, but we are boxing,” he said. “Everyone gets pumped up and we want to put on a good show for the crowd.”

Another local fighter strapping on the gloves is Old Bethpage resident Steve “Slowhand” Bernstein, president of the Southampton Hospital Foundation. This will be his first time stepping into the ring and at 60-years-old, he will be the elder statesman of the event.

“I’m going to turn pro at 70,” he joked, adding that training for the match has been much more intense than he anticipated. “I’m a runner and in decent shape, but this is a whole new level of fitness. But it’s all worth it for this great cause.”

Bernstein’s opponent for the night will be Dix Hills resident and charity co-founder Jamie “Fly Boy” Austin, owner of Austin Travel in Syosset.

Austin said that while everyone wants to box and have fun, the main thrust of the event is the charitable organizations that it serves.

“Everyone is struggling in these tough economic times, including charitable organizations,” he said. “And every year we have people coming up to us asking if they can participate. People love getting involved and doing some good in the community.”

The charity event is sanctioned by the American Boxing Association and participants need boxer cards, fitness exams and medical approval.

Other Nassau County boxers include Massapequa resident Robert “The Tax Reducer” Renda, associate at Forchello, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, LLP in Uniondale; Terese “The Knockout” Arenth, Glen Cove resident and partner with the law firm of Moritt Hock & Hamroff, LLP in Garden City; Hugh “Hands of Stone” Tanchuck, a resident of Glen Head and owner of North Shore Architectural Stone in Brookville; Roseanne “Ro-Hammad Ali” Beovich, Garden City resident and associate attorney at Genser, Dubow, Genser & Cona, LLP in Melville; Michael “The Closer” Haltman, a Woodbury resident and owner of Hallmark Abstract Service LLC in Woodbury; Bayville resident Joanne “The Tigress” Hutchins, founder of Moms Who Kick Inc. in Oyster Bay; Joe “The Limo King of the Ring” Palumbo, a resident of Westbury and a managing partner at Camelot Specialty Limos in Farmingdale; and Alex “El Torito the Baby Bull” Gallego, an East Norwich resident and senior vice president/investments branch manager at Stifel in Oyster Bay.

Tickets for the main event are available online.  Ringside V.I.P. seats are $195, premium seats are $125, and both include admission to a pre-event special networking and cocktail reception.  The V.I.P. reception starts at 5:30 p.m. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the boxing matches begin at 6:30 p.m. More than 20 local restaurants will provide food and beverages for the event.  For tickets and information visit or call 877-240-7821.