Gabby Fanti recalls just a few short years ago being with her mom driving past Terrie’s Workout Center in North Buffalo.
Fanti saw a sign advertising boxing lessons and her face lit up! Her mom Sara Peter, however, did not share Gabby’s enthusiasm.
“We always drive by Terrie’s and there was this big ad in the window and I said mom I want to do that. And she said no,” Fanti said with a laugh, as she was preparing for her workout at Terrie’s Boxing Club, 1471 Hertel Ave.
“I kept asking and asking and then for Christmas a couple of years ago she got me (a gift certificate for) lessons and it just kinda started from there.”
While Gabby’s mom understandably had questions and concerns regarding her daughter’s safety, Gabby was eventually able to sell her mom on the idea of doing boxing for fitness more so than the serious in-ring competition.
“I think I kind of convinced her it’s just for exercise. Just to get fit and stuff. No fighting. But I forgot the yet part,” Fanti said with a wry smile.
“So I guess she was convinced, but there was definitely hesitation when we started sparring because I was younger. The first (amateur) fight she was a nervous wreck.”
When she entered Terrie’s boxing studio, which was located on the second floor of the gym, Fanti soon met and began working with trainer Derek Greene.
Today, Fanti is one of the most dazzling young fighters in WNY.
Fanti, who turns 18 in August, recently graduated from City Honors High School where she played softball and volleyball.
But unlike those two sports, which she loves, Fanti, who has also taken dance lessons for 10 years, said boxing has its own unique impact on her.
It’s proven to be the motivator that enhances all of her other activities.
“I say one of the biggest things, especially with juggling multiple sports, is it helps with time management,” Fanti said. “At City Honors which is high-level academics as well. So it’s a lot of time management and even when you don’t want to do it you kind of have to. It taught me discipline and commitment.”
Fanti said while she already knew and applied the importance of those traits in aspects of her life boxing drove home even more so how important they are. And how they are life lesson traits that will carry her to success in her post high school life.
Greene said that Fanti not only has the raw talent and desire to improve, one of her best traits is she listens. She listens and applies the advice and instructions that she receives.
“She’s real coachable. I don’t have to explain things multiple times to her. I say something and she gets it,” Greene said. “Like during sparring, I could say one thing and she pulls it off flawlessly.”
Greene joked the only time Gabby gives him any back talk is when he tells her to slow down and she refuses to rest.
“She’s everything a coach could ask for,” Greene added. “She works hard and follows directions. She’s able to pick up on things. And the way that she talks about boxing. Talking about things that she sees when she’s in there. She has a really good fight I.Q., as well.”
Fanti said milestone moments like her first kickboxing match and competing in this year’s Golden Gloves told her she had found a home. That boxing was for her.
“When I first started I didn’t know if I wanted to fight or not, but it’s been awesome,” she said. “Even my first kickboxing right the venues are (packed) and the fight community is just so welcoming.
Anybody you see they give you a fist bump and congratulate you. After my fight, so many people that I had never met came up to me and said hey great fight! That was awesome and I felt very welcomed.”
While she loved taking part in team sports like volleyball and softball, boxing offers something totally different. It’s an individual sport where you sink or succeed based on your own merit. Your own effort. Your own skill.
“I love my teams, but fighting, being the only one competing is so different,” Fanti said. “It is a lot of pressure too. You make a mistake it’s your mistake. With volleyball and softball, it’s families all your friends and parents and other friends. Boxing it’s anybody that you can imagine (at the fight). And it’s really cool because all these new people are seeing what you can do and seeing how hard you worked without knowing your backstory.”
The accountability factor of boxing means after a loss there is no finger pointing at others. You look in the mirror and you either make peace with or take pride in the final result because it’s all on you.
“I like it and sometimes I don’t like it,” Fanti said with a chuckle. “It’s not like I’m completely alone. I have my coaches and I have the whole Terrie’s boxing community and even my friends from my other sports. I haven’t been to my dance studio for six years and when I posted about my win in boxing they were all commenting congratulations.”
As she reflected on the last few years, Fanti said she would not have had any of her positive experiences in boxing if not for the support of her dad Mike Fanti, her mom Sara, mom’s boyfriend Peter Urazowski, her nana Deborah Fanti and her uncle Tony, who is always the first to hug her after a fight.
“My mom, my dad, my grandma my whole family really I would not be here at all, especially because they drive me here,” Fanti said with a laugh.
“I haven’t got my license yet. My dad drives me out to (Fight Sport) Niagara Falls every weekend. I spar with MacKenzie Musgrove on weekends and she’s helped me a lot.”
Fanti said regardless of if her arm is raised or not just the love and support of friends and family always makes her feel like a winner.
“They’re all very supportive and I love them more than anything,” Fanti said with a smile.
The kind of smile that only comes when you have found your true passion in life.