MetroSports Magazine Mar-Apr 2018

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MetroSports Magazine 2018 Metropolitan Qualifier

March - April 2018

Road to the Garden

Local Table Tennis Players Represent Team USA at the ITTF World Team Cup in London

NYC’s Ice Hockey Heroes FDNY v NYPD

WNBA’s NY Liberty Find a New Home in Westchester County

Contents March/April 2018

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Features 4 ITTF Team World Cup Four Metro Area Table Tennis Champions Compete Against the World in London 12 2018 Metropolitan Qualifier Amateur Boxing’s Road to the Garden Showcases the Best in Local Boxing 18 Profile in Courage NYC Boxer Nyisha Goodluck 22 FDNY take on the NYPD in the Annual Heroes on Ice Charity Hockey Game Heroes on Ice Returns to Madison Square Garden 28 WNBA’s New York Liberty Find a New Home in Westchester County WNBA’s New York Liberty Move Their Home Court Joining the Westchester Knicks at the County Center

Regular 33 Athlete of the Month

Photo: Clark Thompson

Cover Photo: Olivia Rosenberg

Action Photography by Clark Thompson

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Train Like a Champion. Train with a Champion. MetroSports Magazine’s former Athlete of the Month and cover of our May-June 2015 issue, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, a former NY Golden Gloves Champion, current NYS Flyweight Champion and current WIBA World Flyweight Champion can now be your personal boxing trainer at the world famous Gleason’s Gym.

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MetroSports Magazine (MSM) is published six times a year by the New York Sports Photo Group. MSM is available online and can be downloaded in electronic format for viewing on tablet and hand-held devices, laptop and desktop computers and purchased as full-color glossy print editions. Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Art Director: Warren Rosenberg Publisher: New York Sports Photo Group: Features Editor: Warren Rosenberg Director of Photography: Clark Thompson Social Media: Clark Thompson Photo Contributors: Clark Thompson Warren Rosenberg Leon Libin Olivia Rosenberg Lucas Rojas Mark Kuroda Proofreader: Melissa Tougas Advertising: For rate card contact Please direct all inquiries to:

MetroSports Magazine accepts and welcomes photos, short articles, opinions and letters from our readers. There is no guarantee that unsolicited contributions will be published and MetroSports Magazine assumes no responsibility for failure to publish or for editing published contributions. The Contents of MetroSports Magazine consist of copyrightable and/or copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers.

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Metro Region Players Compete at the International Table Tennis World Cup Team Tournament in London By MSM Special Correspondent Leon Libin n February 22nd through 25th London, England, hosted its first International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Team World Cup. The tournament, taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Copper Box Arena, was historic not only in its being the first such event to take place in England, but even more so being that the game of table tennis was invented in England in the 1880’s. “I am delighted that London once again has the chance to showcase this exciting, fast-paced sport,” - said London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in his opening welcome. “It is a wonderful opportunity for everyone associated with English table tennis to host this prestigious event,” added Sandra Deaton the Chairperson of Table Tennis England. The USA Men’s and Women’s teams both earned the right to participate and compete in this ITTF event, one of the highlight events of the year, and featuring only the top 12 Men’s and Women’s teams in the world. The Women’s Team was comprised of Lily Zhang, Yue (Jenifer) Wu, and Amy Wang with the Men’s Team consisting of Kanak Jha, Adar Alguetti, and Yijun Feng. While Team USA was comprised of the top six players from across the country, our New York Metro region was well-represented with four of the six hailing from homes and or training facilities in New York and New Jersey and including Adar Alguetti, Yijun (Tom) Feng, Yue (Jenifer) Wu, and Amy Wang. The teams were both coached by Stefan Feth. Photo: USA’s top ranked women’s table tennis player, Lily Zhang gets ready to serve against Wang Manyu of China as teammates Amy Wang, Jenifer Wu, and coach Stefan Feth (from right to left) look on.

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Photo Credit: Leon Libin

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The last time that the ITTF Team World Cup was conducted was back in 2015 in Dubai, UAE, and the winners of the Men’s Championship were the Team of China with the Team Austria as the Runners-Up and of the Women’s Championship -- Team China with the Runners-Up -- Team Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. The USA Teams on the ITTF WORLD Cup 2018 in London were comprised of young and talented table tennis players from across of the country and among those there were 4 players, who are from MetroSports Magazine’s NY Metro region, including 19 year old Adar Alguetti from Tenafly, NJ, 21 year old Yijun Feng from New York City, 28 year old Yue Wu from Fort Lee, NJ, and up-and-coming phenom – 15 year old Amy Wang from Sewell, NJ. Alguetti and Wang both train a the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center and Alguetti and Feng are both students at New York University. Both Wu and Feng competed in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Above: USA Team members Amy Wang and Yue Wu in action against China’s Ding Ning (left) and Liu Shiwen (right) Photo Credit: Leon Libin

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Following the new Olympic test playing system, team matches at the ITTF began with doubles play. In the team match against Hong Kong’s, NG Pak Nam and Ho Kwan Kit, American players Adar Alguetti and Yijun Feng started out confidently but, nevertheless, fell to the Hong Kong team. In the second match, a singles contest between Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and the USA’s Kanak Jha, the end results were very different. Wong Chun Ting, a 26 year old, with the World Ranking of #7 lost in three straight games (8-11, 10-12, 8-11) to 17 year old Kanak Jha, whose World Ranking was # 88. “I think, Kanak played very well, he beat Chun Ting 3-0. I think this is a major upset by the US and I do not think that any US player has done this before. So, as we see Kanak is now a rising star, he is currently number 1 for the ITTF Junior Circuit. It looks really good for the US,” — said US Olympian and fellow team member Yijun Feng.

Facing Page Top: Adar Alguetti prepares to serve to Chun Ting Wong. Facing Page Bottom: Yijun Feng prepares to receive serve from Kwan Kit Ho Photo Credits: Leon Libin

Photo: Warren Rosenberg

Kanak Jha described his performance at the ITTF TEAM WORLD Cup as follows: “Overall, I am very satisfied with my performance at the World Team Cup. I had one of the most memorable wins of my career against Hong Kong and it gives me a lot of confidence going forward to know that I am capable of playing at the highest level of the sport. Going into the event, I did not have any expectations for myself because this one of the strongest tournaments with the world’s best players; I just wanted to play my best and not worry too much about the outcome. I would like thank all my friends, fans, and family for the continuous support and positivity. I hope I can continue to keep improving and hopefully one day become a top player in the world.”

Kanak then played against Hugo Calderano (Age: 21, WR #16) of Brazil, apparently also a rising star of table tennis in the next match with Team Brazil and demonstrated a diligent performance with games’ scores 7-11, 8-11, 7-11. Yinjun (Tom) Feng (WR #399) played the next match against Ho Kwan Kit (WR #44), which started at the teams match score 1-1, that put additional psychological toll on the players. When asked, “What were your most memorable matches?”, he answered: “ I think that is the one I played against Ho Kwan Kit. I lost 0-3 but all three games were close. The first set was 9-9 and then two important points—9-11, in the second set I was ahead 10-9 and had two good backhands, but he returned, so I lost that set too and the third set was 11-8.”

Above: New York’s Yijun Feng consults with Team USA coach Stefan Feth. Photo Credit: Leon Libin

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Following the tournament and upon return to the United States, MetroSports correspondent Leon Libin met up with Feng at Westchester Table Tennis Center, in Pleasantville, NY during the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) North-East Regional Championships, where Tom participated as a member of the NYU (New York University) table tennis team together with his US National Team team-mate Adar Alguetti. LL: “Tom, how do you perceive your performance on the ITTF TEAM WORLD Cup 2018?” TF: “I played against lefties from other countries one from Hong Kong, one from Brazil and I played good and the first match better than the second one. Since, My ability to play against right handed players is better than against lefties, I think I would definitely play better, if I played against righties from another countries.” LL: What do you think about the organization of the Tournament, what is your impression about this Tournament? TF: It was very good. I was only on one World Cup, in Germany in 2016 Singles World Cup. I never was on a World TEAM Cup before. For this time I think it was very good. Overall impression is very good, the hotel, the venue, the organization.” LL: Are you going to compete in Halmstad, Sweden on the upcoming ITTF LIEBHERR WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 2018? TF: Yes, the USATT just announced that it is Kanak [Jha], me, Nichil [Kumar] and Nick Tio, so, four of us are going to compete in Halmstad. I am preparing right now and this tournament (NCTTA Northeast Regional Championships) is a small preparation and I am leaving to Austria tonight at 8 pm for another League Match of the Austrian League. After that, I will train with Austrian National Team and after that I will have number of tournaments before the ITTF WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS.”

After Feng’s match against Kwan Kit Ho, Adar Alguetti (WR #359) took the “relay ball” against Wong Chun Ting (WR #7) and played very decently against one of the best players in the world - attacking penholder, very mush reminding XU XIN of China. In the second game Adar was ahead 8-6, 10-8, 11-10 and lost it only by the very close score of 11-13. Ting prevailed in the match, finishing 0-3. In a post-tournament interview with MetroSports correspondent Leon Libin who was on-site in London, Adar said, “ First I would like to thank you for reaching out to me, and to note that it was nice to see another familiar face in an international platform! Here is what I would like to share about my experience: The Team World Cup was something I have never participated in before, let alone was the first time I have competed with the world-class level of athletes of the Table Tennis sport. I was honored to be given the opportunity to even stand on a court and play with such talented and skilled athletes. In terms of my personal performance, I feel that I did respectively well! To go up against WR #7, Wong Chun Ting go of Hong Kong, is definitely the highlight of my career, and to score any number of points against him is an achievement in my mind, considering the circumstances and the environment. Playing doubles was certainly a surprise, but also a privilege because I had the opportunity to compete with both Hong Kong’s and Brazil’s best. Overall a great experience, and I think that in terms of results the next time would definitely be better!”


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The US women’s team, consisting of Lily Zhang, Yue Wu and Amy Wang and coached by Stefan Feth, faced off against teams from Japan and Egypt. The number 1 ranked US woman player, Lily Zhang (21 years old, WR #60) met with Kasumi Ishikawa (24 years old, WR #4) of Japan in the singles competition and lost 1-3. In her doubles match, paired with with Yue Wu, they faced Abdel-Aziz Farah and Helmy Yousra from Egypt and won the match by a 3-0 shutout score. Amy Wang (15 years old, WR #627) was pitted against Egypt’s Abdel-Aziz Farah (25 years old, WR #145) and, in a four game match, claimed a 3-1 victory.

The Women’s team reached the Quarter-Finals stage and only there was knocked out by the reigning World Cup holder — Team China. The Men’s Team even though they did not advance from the group D stage, put up a respectable performance while competing with best Table Tennis Teams in the World: posting a 1-3 loss against Hong Kong. America’s Kanak Jha won his match against the A-player Chun Ting Wong (#7 WR) with the shutout match score 3-0! “The future is GOOD!”stated the Coach of the USA Teams on the ITTF TEAMS WORLD CUP 2018 in London — Stefan Feth.

These result allowed the Team USA to advance into the Quarter-Finals stage, where they encountered Team China. Yue Wu and Amy Wang in doubles lost to Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen 0-3. Manyu Wang (19 years old, WR #5) won against Lily Zhang (21 years old, WR #60) 3-0 and, although not apparent in the lopsided final score, Zhang played a very competitive match. In another women’s singles contest, Liu Shiwen (26 years old, WR #23) won against Yue Wu (28 years old, WR #129) 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 — in quite a close match. Yue (Jenifer) Wu reflected on her performance at the ITTF TEAM WORLD Cup 2018 by saying: “Overall I played good in London, because I went to China to practice for a month, that helps me a lot. I still remember that when I played against Ito, the 4th game I was wining 10:6, but I lost.. I think I still need to improve my mental state and strategies. But when we played against Egypt, our Coach made a good decision to manage who is playing which position, and that is the key we beat them. I’m glad that we made quarterfinal for my first world cup team event, after we beat Egypt, the coach told us that we can compete division 1 in world championships! I hope we can have good performance in the world championships!”

The ITTF TEAM WORLD CUP 2018 was a triumph of Teams Chana and Japan in both nominations - men’s and women’s, who comprised the all CHINA vs, Japan Finals. And in both Finals Chinese table tennis players were stronger and consequently, won both ITTF TEAM CUPS — men’s and women’s and Gold medals associated with them. Silver medals of both divisions - men’s and women’s went to Japan. Bronze medals were awarded to men’s teams of England and Republic of Korea and to women’s teams of DPR Korea and Hong Kong, China, who, also performed exceptionally well on the ITTF WORLD TEAM CUP 2018. Congratulations to all Winners, Runners-Up, Bronze Medalists and participants of this remarkable ITTF Tournament Event. And, of course, THANK YOU LONDON, TABLE TENNIS ENGLAND for the beautiful arrangements of the ITTF Event with the Label — Made in London.! And the next big tournament for our athletes is the ITTF LIEBHERR TEAM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Halmstad, Sweden in April-May 2018! Congratulations and Good Luck!

Facing Page Top: Yinjun Feng, Photo Courtest ITTF Facing Page Bottom: Amy Wang, Photo Courtesy ITTF

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2018 Metropolitan Qualifier The Road to the Garden O

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perating under the umbrella of USA Boxing, USA Boxing Metro sanctioned the USA Boxing Metropolitan Association’s 2018 Metropolitan Qualifier: Road to the Garden which consists of 19 separate boxing events held throughout the New York Metropolitan region over a seven week period in March and April. The events are a prelude to the MSG Ring Masters Championships on April 20 at Madison Square Garden and serve as qualifying events for participation in one of two national championship tournaments. This year’s Metropolitan Qualifier: Road to the Garden has over 600 athletes competing, both men and women, ranging in age from 8 years old and up, and include boxers from all five NYC boroughs and the eight surrounding counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster. For those competing in the 8 – 18 year old age group, the goal is a chance to qualify for the Junior Olympic and Youth National Championships, which will take place in Charleston, West Virginia on June 24-30. For those fighting in the 19 – 40 year old group, the prize will be a shot at the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions scheduled for May 14-19 in Omaha, Nebraska. The tournament kicked off on March 1st at the Yonkers PAL and, while (continued on page 14) Background Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

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Mother Nature unleashed her fury with a rare “bomb cyclone”, twenty amateur athletes unleashed their fury in the ring in ten very closely contested bouts, nine going the distance and three decided by split decision. The action picked right up the following evening at Manhattan’s Church Street Boxing with eight more bouts. The contests continue through April 13th culminating in the April 20th finals at the Hulu Theater at MSG. The USA Boxing Metropolitan Association, better known as USA Boxing Metro, is one of the 56 Local Boxing Committees (LBC) of USA Boxing, the national governing body (NGB) overseeing amateur boxing in the United States under the aegis of the US Olympic Committee. USA Boxing Metro is comprised of 69 boxing clubs throughout USA Boxing Metro’s region. Currently presiding over the Metropolitan LBC’s Board of Directors is world champion boxer and New York City elementary school teacher at P.S. 183, Sonya Lamonakis, whom MetroSports Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with for this article. Fighting under the alias ‘The Scholar’, this 5’7” heavyweight fighting out of the world famous Gleason’s Gym has compiled a 10-2-3 record and is currently ranked second in the U.S. and number three in the world according to the most recent BoxRec rankings. She has held the IBO World Female Heavyweight Title and the New York State Female Heavyweight Title. Again, one notable item about this year’s Metropolitan Qualifier is the return of the

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tournament’s culminating event to Madison Square Garden, the World’s Most Famous Arena, and home to the historic bouts of Jack Dempsey vs Bill Brennan (1920), Sugar Ray Robinson vs Henry Armstrong (1943), Joe Louis vs Rocky Marciano (1951), and, of course, Muhammed Ali vs Joe Frazier I (1971) and II (1974). After climbing through their bouts in the Metropolitan Qualifier, those who have made it to the top of their respective weight classes will have earned a spot to showcase their skills in the ring at the April 20th‘MSG Ring Masters Championships’. In addition, the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, sanctioned by USA Boxing and produced by the National Golden Gloves of America, will take place in Omaha, Nebraska, this May and will include competitors who have earned a spot through their performance in the Metropolitan Qualifiers.

Above: Promotion for the Ring Masters Championships was on display at the Annual FDNY vs NYPD Charity Hockey Game covered later in this issue.

Photo Credit: Olivia Rosenberg

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2018 Metropolitan Qualifiers Schedule March 1

Yonkers PAL, Yonkers

March 2

Church Street Boxing, Manhattan

March 8

Main Street Boxing, Mt. Vernon

March 9

Work-Train-Fight, Manhattan

March 14 Ring 8-Plattdeutche, Franklin Square LI March 16 Electric Industry Center, Flushing Queens March 22 New York Athletic Club, Manhattan March 23 Yonkers PAL, Yonkers March 24 Gleason’s Gym, Brooklyn March 29 John’s Gym, Bronx March 30 International Boxing, Ridgewood Queens March 31 International Boxing, Ridgewood Queens April 4

Church Street Boxing, Manhattan

April 5

NYPD Roller Jam, Staten Island

April 6

Main Street Boxing, Mt. Vernon

April 7

Finest Fitness, Patchogue

April 12

Ring 8-Plattdeutche, Franklin Square LI

April 13

Louis Armstrong Rec Center, Corona Queens

April 20

Madison Square Garden, NYC

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Photo Credit: Clark Thom


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A Profile in Courage It’s Not Just Luck Nyisha Goodluck

Photo Credit: Mark Kuroda

“Punch hard, be fierce, & fight like a girl, because girls are tough and bite down too!” Nyisha Goodluck


n the summer of 2017, Netflix released a highly regarded documentary that followed the path of three boxers, one of whom trained at New York City’s Atlas Cops & Kids under former NYPD narcotics sergeant, Pat Russo, who runs the gym. The documentary focused on the loss of many of our urban boxing gyms that had provided direction and salvation to confused or misguided inner-city youth. That boxer, Christopher Colbert, who goes under the name Lil B-Hopp, is quoted in an article by Noah Hurowitz in dnainfo, as stating “If I hadn’t come to Atlas, I’d be dead, in jail, or selling drugs.”(1) Colbert is now an undefeated professional featherweight with a 7-0 record, ranked 26th in the US by Box Rec after an amateur career having captured a Golden Gloves championship and being a Junior Olympian and two time National Champion. Thirty years ago Pat Russo, then a rookie Cop with the NYPD’s 72nd Precinct in Brooklyn, founded the Cops and Kids Boxing program and began his legacy of saving young lives through boxing. In 2009 he partnered with Teddy Atlas and renamed his organization the Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing Program. The organization currently operates three boxing gyms in NYC one in Brooklyn and two in Staten Island. Park Hill Boxing Club 140 Park Hill Ave. Staten Island, NY 10304 Flatbush Gardens 667 East 34th Street, off Newkirk Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11210 Berry Houses 1754 Richmond Road. Staten Island, NY

Fighting in this year’s Metropolitan Qualifiers is a young woman who very well could have been featured in CounterPunch. Nyisha Goodluck, also known as Lucky Luxx to the crew at Gleason’s Gym, was one of those confused and misguided youth who found direction and salvation under Pat Russo and Sarah Deming at Atlas Cops & Kids. In a oneon-one interview with MetroSports Magazine on the following page, Nyisha told us a story that would have been worthy of the Netflix documentary. Former Golden Gloves Champion (2001), author, NBC boxing analyst, and one of the trainers at Atlas Cops N’ Kids, Sarah Deming, knows Nyisha well.

“She lights up the gym and was a joy to coach.” Sarah Deming, Atlas Cops & Kids Taking the lessons learned from coach Deming to heart, and committing herself to the journey of self-improvement that she speaks about in her interview, Nyisha went on to follow in Sarah’s footsteps, capturing the New York Golden Gloves Championship in 2016. Upon winning her first Golden Gloves fight, Nyisha was quoted as saying, “First year, first time - feeling blessed”. It certainly won’t be the last time this warrior will be blessed.

“Nyisha is a beautiful, hardworking, determined young lady. Watching her grow as a boxer, and more so as a person, is why we do what we do.”

(1) Boxers Find ‘Family’ at Free Brooklyn Gym Featured in Netflix Documentary. dnainfo, 7/19/2017

Pat Russo, Atlas Cops & Kids MetroSports Magazine | 19

MetroSports Goes 1-on-1 with Nyisha Goodluck MSM: Where were you born and where were you educated? NG: I was born in Brooklyn NY. I jumped between a lot of different schools, I kept getting into trouble, but I finished my last year of school at Edward R Murrow. MSM: What influenced you to get started in boxing? NG: Really, it was just walking with a lot of anger and pain. Carrying, anxiety, doubts, & insecurities on my shoulders for a very long time. Having started in the gym feeling free of all those burdens, it’s an amazing feeling and I know this is just where I’m supposed to be. I’d also like to add my boxing family, Peter Lawson who is now my trainer at Gleason’s gym, he took me onto his team 3 years ago, right after winning the daily news Golden Gloves 2016. I had reached another low point in my life, I spent the entire year fu*k*ng up and falling apart and I wasn’t in the gym for a year. I thought that would be the end for me with boxing. It’s weird to say he’s like a father to me but PJ, he mentored me and guided me back to where I was supposed to be. We’ve been pushing hard ever since. MSM: What female boxers most influence you? Who in the sport do you look up to? NG: World Champ Ronica Jeffrey who is also now my trainer at Gleason’s gym and my stable mates Iman James & Kathreen Marie. For the last two years we’ve been tearing each other apart 6 days a week, reconstructing ourselves to be stronger, more confident, and built to endure whatever is necessary to shake the game. MSM: What role did the Atlas Cops and Kids play in your development as a boxer and as a person? Do you want to give a shout out to Pat Russo, Sarah Deming and Teddy Atlas? NG: Yes definitely want to give them a shout out ! Especially Pat & Sarah. They’ve exposed me to the game they introduced me to greatness & from that point on I knew exactly where it was I needed to be. Not only that, they helped me get through some very tough times. 20 | March - April 2018

Being broke I didn’t have a dime and Pat offered me a job. I was house cleaning, trying to make extra cash, and Sarah helped me earn some cash. Now I’m in a construction Union and I couldn’t even afford my dues - Pat was there without question. I couldn’t even afford to pay money that was going to eventually help me make money - how embarrassing, HA! But they were there. They helped me to stay solid mentally. I could go on and on I pay homage to them forever . MSM: We noticed the following quote on your FB and Instagram pages, “I’m no where near where I want to be but I’m FAR from where I came from. Grateful AF”. Where is it that you want to be? NG: I hope I don’t sound like an air head but honestly there’s no distinct destination! I just really am grateful for not being in that dark space I once was, and for my growth spiritually. Shocking myself over and over again when I accomplish things I never thought I could. I’m obsessed with transformation and growth and there’s no limit to growth before death and then who really knows what’s next? I want to be the best me I can be in due time ! To infinity & beyond ! MSM: Any advice for young girls who might be interested in boxing? NG: Absolutely! Punch hard, be fierce, & fight like a girl because girls are tough and bite down too ! MSM: Can you tell us about one or two of your favorite tattoos? NG: My favorite tattoo is the one on the inside of my bicep it says “Live Free” because it cost NOTHING to vibe on a high frequency, feel genuine love and give back to others MSM: What’s one main thing that you’d like our readers to know about you? NG: I started boxing just doing this for me but I realize the people Ive inspired to fight through the turmoil and turbulence in life. Holding your ground and being not only Queen & Kings but a warrior. I vibe high off of that.

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All Photos By Warren Rosenberg



New York City’s Police and Fire Departments (NYPD and FDNY, respectively) took to the ice of New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden for the 45rd Annual “FDNY vs NYPD Ice Hockey Heroes” charity event. Begun in 1973, this annual contest has run, uninterrupted, for over four decades. Held this year on March 24th to a sell-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, the FDNY’s Bravest Hockey Club defeated the NYPD’s Finest Hockey club by a score of 5-4. Prior to the noon-time face-off, the crowd paused to honor the recently fallen firefighter, Lt. Michael Davidson who was killed while fighting a fire in Harlem and two FDNY colleagues, killed while serving with the N.Y. Air National Guard in Iraq, Christopher Raguso and Christopher Zanetis. MetroSports Magazine | 23

In addition to cementing the bond between the FDNY and NYPD whose members so often work side-by-side in protecting the life and property of New Yorkers, the event helped raise funds for several notable causes. In addition to the funds raised from ticket sales, a $5,000 contribution was made by the Municipal Credit Union. Fifteen thousand dollars was donated from the proceeds to the Ray Pfeifer Foundation by the FDNY Hockey Team, and $10,000 donated to the New York City Police Benevolent Association by an anonymous donor in honor of the NYPD Hockey Club.

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Taking in the game sitting next to this reporter and photographer were two members of NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s press office, Press Secretary Eric Phillips and Assistant Press secretary Natalie Grybauskas. As the game got underway, the FDNY scored first and, as the first period drew to a close, the Mayor’s Press Secretary began calling the game through his postings to Twitter noting, “Great scene here at MSG. FDNY and NYPD are tied at 1 late in the first period.” The two teams continued to battle it out through the second period and, as time ticked away in the final period, the NYPD team came charging. Press Secretary Phillips tweeted, “We gotta game here! Cops just tied it at 4. 5 min left in the 3rd.” And that’s the way the game ended after three periods of regulation play. Going into the start of the tie-breaking shootout the FDNY scored first and held on to reclaim bragging rights for another year.

Photo Credit: Warren Rosenberg

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WNBA’s N.Y. Liberty Find a New Home in Westchester County The Westchester County Center, billed as Westchester’s Most Famous Arena, has taken another step forward in its linkage with New York City’s Madison Square Garden (MSG) – The World’s Most Famous Arena – approximately 29 miles to the south. The County Center, already home to the Westchester Knicks, the NBA’s G-League affiliate of the MSG-based New York Knickerbockers professional basketball team, will now be the home court for another MSG owned professional franchise, the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The County Center, a 5,000 seat arena located in White Plains, NY, the commercial and government center of Westchester County, has been hosting sporting and other events since its opening in 1930. In recent years the County Center has been the site of the professional bodybuilding competitions sanctioned by the National Physique Committee, WWE wrestling events, professional boxing including the first professional fight of Maureen Shea, the County sponsored high school Slam Dunk Basketball Tournament, Cheerleading Competition, Coed Volleyball Tournament and an annual visit by The Harlem Globetrotters. The Westchester Knicks are having a banner year at the County Center finishing the regular season in first place in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division finishing the season tied for the best won/lost record in the NBA’s G-League with the Western Division’s Austin Spurs. Evidence of the talent that has appeared on the Westchester County Center’s court can be found in two of this season’s Westchester Knicks starters moving up to play with the NBA’s New York Knicks, Trey Burke and Luke Kornet, following in the footsteps of Ron Baker, Damyean Dotson, Nigel Hayes and Isaiah Hicks. Burk scored a career high 42 points on March 26th against the Charlotte Hornets. Supported by dynamic performances from the Westchester Knicks Dancers, the loveable team mascot Hudson 914, and a range of fan-involvement activities, the team consistently attracts solid numbers of enthusiastic fans. 28 | March - April 2018

Photo Credit: Clark Thompson

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The New York Liberty, one of the original teams at the WNBA’s founding, has won four conference championships and has appeared in four WNBA Championship Finals. Averaging over 7,000 fans per game and frequently topping over 15,000, Liberty games at the County Center look to attract sell-out crowds. The WNBA is the premier women’s professional basketball league recruiting from the nation’s top Division I NCAA basketball programs and boasting a number of U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists. Among the New York Liberty’s past and present Olympians are Gold Medalists Tina Charles, Swin Cash (2014-16), Cappie Poindexter (201014), DeLisha Milton-Jones (2013-14) and, taking over as Head Coach for the upcoming 2018 season, 3 time gold medalist Katie Smith (2000, 2004, 2008). Assisting Coach Smith is Assistant

Coach Herb Williams and, perhaps the most famous NY Liberty of all, Olympic Gold Medalist, Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer, and one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all time, Teresa Weatherspoon, Director of Player Development and Director of Franchise Development. For those who have followed New York Metro region high school and college basketball, look among the Liberty’s roster for hometown standouts Epiphany Prince (Murray Bergstrom H.S.; Rutgers University), Tina Charles (Jamaica, NY; UCONN), Bria Hartley (North Babylon, NY), Kia Vaughn (Bronx NY, Rutgers), Look for the Liberty’s historic home opener at the Westchester County Center on Friday, May 25th against the Minnesota Lynx. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 pm

Above: New York Liberty legend and U.S. Olympian Teresa Weatherspoon and Queens native and NY Knick Kyle O’Quinn at the Westchester County Center. Photo Credit: Lucas Rojas

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MetroSports Athlete of the Month Sponsored by Hunts Photo & Video

32 | March - April 2018

MetroSports Athlete of the Month MetroSports Athlete of the Month Sonya Lamonakis For working hand-in-hand with her colleagues on the Metropolitan Association’s Board of Directors in helping to steer the organization through a tumultuous year of organizing a tournament for over 600 participants and leading to the Finals at the Yonkers PAL and Madison Square Garden, MetroSports Magazine names Metropolitan Association president, Sonya Lamonakis as its Athlete of the Month for April 2018. Lamonakis, or “The Scholar” as she is known in the ring, is herself a four-time N.Y. Golden Gloves Champion, currently ranked as #3 in the world among women heavyweight boxers, and #2 in the U.S. and is a teacher in the NYC public school system.

MetroSports Athlete of the Month Adar Alguetti For representing his country as part of the sixmember USA Table Tennis Team at this year’s ITTF Team World Cup in London and for leading the New York University Table Tennis Team to the Men’s Singles Championship at the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association’s Northeast Regional Championships in March. MetroSports Magazine selects Adar Alguetti as our Athlete of the Month for March 2018. Along with his brothers, Sharon and Gal, and under the tutelage of his father, Eyal, and their coaches at the Lily Yip and the Westchester Table Tennis Center, Adar has been winning local, state-wide, national, and international accolades since first being crowned as the U.S. National U1900 and U2000 Champion in 2011.

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