CATSKILL — One of boxing’s most revered gyms — the Cus D’Amato Gym in Catskill — recently underwent a complete refurbishing, modernizing the aging venue while maintaining its old-school character.
The renovations came about as part of the Lowe’s Heroes Project, according to gym director Kyle Lyles.
“We have a historical spot where you have Cus D’Amato, who trained a lot of fighters there, including Mike Tyson, who because the youngest heavyweight champion, and there are a lot of clippings that were starting to get discolored a little bit,” Lyles said.
“The gym just needed a facelift without trying to change the historical value or anything that was there. We just gave it a facelift where we put pain on a wall, they framed the clippings behind plexiglass, so when people come in to take a tour of the gym they can still feel the history of it.”
Once Lowe’s of Catskill store manager Jason Disy became aware of the project, he was glad to donate his organization’s services.
“This was a project we took on a couple of years ago, a big project,” Disy explained. “It took a lot of time and a lot of effort, but there is a lot of history here that’s directly tied to Catskill and the community and we thought it was an awesome opportunity to use the resources that we have to get in here and restore this piece of history. I’m glad we got the chance to do it.”
Disy and his team, which consisted of store employees and independent contractors, got right to work and while the project was completed overnight, once it was, Lyles couldn’t have been happier.
“It came out outstanding, pretty much what I was looking for as far as giving it an uplift without changing the historical value,” Lyles said. “At the end of the day, we want to keep the Cus D’Amato legacy going and that was purpose of this. Every once in awhile you gave to give it a facelift because with all the wear and tear things start to run down a little bit, Lowe’s did an excellent job in getting everything back up to par for the doors to remain open for anyone that’s interested in keeping Cus D’Amato’s legacy and style going.”
Along with a fresh coat of paint, the hardwood floors were restored, all of the lighting and fixtures were restored, the restroom completely redone and the office was completely redone.
The original boxing rin, which was brought in by D’Amato himself, was not touched, except for a new canvas that bears the D’Amato Gym logo.
“A lot of our associates at the store and contractors that are involved with the store donated their time to come down and put in the work, Disy said. “Everybody participated anyway that they could. We donated a lot of the materials and a lot of our partners in the community donated a lot of their material and their time, which made it all possible. We couldn’t have done it successfully without those partnerships in the community.”
Now that the facelift is complete, Lyles is hoping it will attract more area youngsters and adults to take advantage of all the gym has to offer.
“We want people to realize that the doors to the gym are open to the youth and adults. It’s a tough sport and not everyone sticks it out. The Cus D’Amato gym for the youth, which I’m trying to really push forward to give them a place to go in the future.
“We still teach the discipline, it’s a mentorship with the coaches and helps keep them focused and out of trouble and pushes them to do better in school. We try to teach them that discipline and also teach the style to keep the legacy of Cus going.”
Lyles pointed out that three trainers that learned from D’Amato, George Young, Greg Young and Darren Ruff, are still a part of the gym, along with Ernest Westbrooke and Nadia Hujtyn.
“Anyone interested in coming to the gym, there is no fee,” Lyles said. “The only cost is to register with USA Boxing, which will provide them with liability insurance. The doors to the gym are open and it’s ready to go. We just have to get more people in there and get them committed. And I feel the future of the gym is bright.”
Like Lyles, Disy encouraged all boxing enthusiasts to come out and see the finished product.
“They still have everything that was here in the time that Mike Tyson was here, but it’s spruced up,” Disy said. “When we were wrapping up and putting the finishing touches on things, a few folks were coming in and just to see the look on their faces made it all worth it.”