Sunnyside Street co-named after famous sporting arena

Sept. 23, By Christian Murray

City officials and boxing enthusiasts turned out Saturday for the co-naming of 45th Street to pay tribute to the now-demolished Sunnyside Garden Arena where fighters and wrestlers used to duke it out.

The Sunnyside Garden Arena, a 2,000-seat venue that was once located where Wendy’s now stands at 44-11 Queens Blvd, hosted boxing events from 1945 to 1977 during the golden years of NYC boxing. Many famous fighters from that era got their start at the arena, and it was a stepping stone to the brighter lights of Madison Square Garden.

Members of the Ring 8 Boxing Association, a group for retired boxers, unveiled the new street sign along with Dave Diamante, the official announcer at the Barclays Center, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Two years ago, many of the same boxing enthusiasts came out when a memorial was placed on the front lawn of Wendy’s that also marked the location.

John Edebohls, who was raised just a couple of blocks away from the arena, said when the memorial was unveiled:“This place launched many careers: Emile Griffith [middleweight world champ] and Jose Torres [light heavyweight world champ].”

The arena was where Gerry Cooney launched his professional career, Edebolhs said. Cooney would go on to fight Larry Holmes in 1982 for the heavyweight title. Cooney lost.

Luke Adams, a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, said when the monument was unveiled that the arena was not just for boxing. “They had proms there, they made a movie there (Mr. Universe), and in 1960 John F. Kennedy had one of the first rallies of his Presidential campaign there.”

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Former boxing champion Iran Barkley hospitalized after suffering stroke

A one-time middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight title holder who twice beat Thomas Hearns, the 54-year-old Barkley is listed in ‘fair’ condition at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx.

BY Mitch Abramson
Published: Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:05 PM
Updated: Friday, October 24, 2014, 12:17 AM


Newkirk/Getty Images – Iran Barkley in 1992, after the second of his two wins over Thomas Hearns.

Iran Barkley, a ferocious boxer known as the “Blade,” who owns two victories over Thomas Hearns, was hospitalized on Wednesday with a minor stroke after having a seizure at his Bronx home, his niece, Barbara Wilder, told the Daily News.

Barkley, 54, is currently talking, eating and moving around and is “doing fair” in a room at Lincoln Medical Center, Wilder said.

“He’s good, he’s talking, he still looks like Iran,” Wilder said in a phone interview on Thursday. “He can walk around and everything. He’s going to be here for a couple of days but he’s doing well. He’s alert.”

Wilder said that Barkley collapsed in his home on Wednesday, “stressed out” from worrying about a brother, Alibay Barkley and a niece Nicola Barkley, both of whom are suffering from lung cancer.

“That’s what it was,” Wilder said. “He was stressed out. He never had any health problems before. It was the stress factor. But he’s in pretty good health now. The doctor just said he was under a lot of stress.”

Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News – Iran Barkley during a Daily News photo shoot in August.

He was found at his apartment by his girlfriend, who called for help, Wilder said.

Wilder said that Barkley is scheduled for more medical testing on Friday and expects him to stay in the hospital for several more days for precautionary reasons before he’s discharged.

Barkley earned millions of dollars in boxing, stopping Hearns in the third round to capture a middleweight title in 1988. He subsequently lost a split decision to Roberto Duran in 1989, relinquishing the belt. He would go on to win titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight, when he again topped Hearns by split decision in 1992.

Barkley fell on hard times, however, blowing through his money, and for a time he even slept on a subway because he was homeless. He was able to land an apartment with the help of a non-profit and as recently as this past summer had discussed making a comeback in boxing. He last fought professionally in 1999.

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Meeting at the Plattduetsche


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Sean Monaghan & Bobby Cassidy will be our guest speakers this Thursday at the Plattduetsche


Ring 8 Meeting Notice - October 2014

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New Title For Former Boxing Showground


On September 20th, New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer was joined by Bob Duffy, President of Ring 8, Dave Diamante, official announcer for the Barclays Center, historians and neighborhood residents to officially rename 45th Street and Queens Boulevard after Sunnyside Garden Arena. In this photo, Council Member Van Bramer is joined by Bob Duffy, President of Ring 8, and Dave Diamante, boxing enthusiast and the voice of the Brooklyn Nets.

A Sunnyside street corner now recalls the former site of a storied sports venue that once hosted boxing matches, wrestling competitions, roller derbies, proms, and even a presidential rally. Last Saturday, 45th Street and Queens Boulevard was officially co-named “Sunnyside Garden Arena Way” in a ceremony led by City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Ring 8 President Bob Duffy, Barclays Center announcer Dave Diamante and local residents. It is believed that the 2,000-seat, red brick arena was originally built as a private tennis club or the carriage house for millionaire Jay Gould II in the 1920s. The venue became a boxing arena in 1945, and hosted Golden Gloves tournaments and fights with such big names as Floyd Patterson and Gerry Cooney. In 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy gave a stump speech there during his successful run for the president of the United States. The arena also hosted wrestling cards until it was sold in 1977 and torn down. Currently, a Wendy’s restaurant operates on the property. This is actually the second honor for the arena, as a monument to it was installed on the property near the Wendy’s in October 2012.

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Ring 8 Minutes and Notes Tuesday, September 16, 2014

President Bob Duffy opened the meeting with

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93 year old Carmine singing the National Anthem followed by the

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10 count by Paulette Balog and John Holden in the memory of all those who recently passed on.

President Duffy talked on the recent birthday party Pinklon Thomas had for his father who turned 100 years old. Ring 8 donated a Championship Belt and the family was so happy.

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Henry Hascup talked on the up-coming New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame Induction and Award Ceremonies that will take place on Thursday, November 13th at the beautiful Venetian, located at 546 River Drive, Garfield, New Jersey starting at 7:00 P.M. Tickets are priced at ONLY $85.00 per person.

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A new member Michael Goldberg talked about how he got into boxing by watching someone just jumping rope and he wanted to do the same and he just fell in Love with the sport. You can go to his Networking web site by clicking on the following link - - He stated that he would like to become more involved with the sport, maybe as a Boxing analysis.

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President Duffy talked about an event this coming Saturday in which they will be renaming the street at 45th and Queens Blvd, to Sunnyside Garden Way, where Sunnyside Garden use to stand. He also talked about the Monument Ring 8 put up at that site on October 6, 2012.

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Famed ring announcer and the Brooklyn Nets public address announcer Dave Diamante also talked on Sunnyside Garden. Dave talked on several boxing events that are coming up later this week where he will be doing the ring announcing.

David Diamante running with the Bulls

He also talked on the running with the Bulls which took place in Spain and he ran several times, with a cigar in his mouth.

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Dave owns the Diamante’s Brooklyn Cigar Lounge located at 108 S Oxford St, Brooklyn, NY 11217

President Duffy stated that David Berlin newly appointed executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission was suppose to be our guest speaker tonight But with 3 consecutive shows this week he had to postpone his appearance until November.

Our next meeting will be at the Plattduetsche Restaurant, Franklin Square, New York on Thursday, October 16th. The guest speakers will be Sean Monahan and Bobby Cassidy Jr.

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The family of the late Felix Sandoval, who was a former boxer and trainer, came up and talked about there father. A few members of his family talked on how boxing was a big part of there life because of there father, and they went to many boxing shows because of him. New York State Athletic Commissioner member Judge Edwin Torres, who also wrote “Carlito’s Way” presented the family with a plaque from Ring 8 and we had a 10 count in his memory.

President Duffy stated that Ring 8 finally has a Tax Exempt Status, which will save as $1,000′s each year.

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Brian Dubecky, John Rohe, Stan Janousek, Robin Taylor & Sparkle Lee

President Duffy talked on our up-coming Holiday Party at Russo’s on the Bay on Sunday, December 14th. Then he read off all the honorees:

Ring 8′s Fighter of the Year – Chris Algieri

Ring 8′s Comeback Fighter of the Year – Daniel Jacobs

Ring 8′s Uncrowned Champion – Joe Mesi

Ring 8′s Contender of the Year – Frankie Galarza

Ring 8′s Prospect of the Year – Julian Williams

Ring 8′s Referee of the Year – Sparkle Lee

Ring 8′s Judge of the Year – Robin Taylor

Ring 8′s Photographer of the Year – Stan Janousek  (professional fight name Stanley Yanachek)

Ring 8′s Men of the Year – Brian Dubecky & John Rohe

Ring 8′s Promoters of the Year – Felipe Gomez, Kevin Sullivan & Wilson Naranjo

Ring 8′s Long & Meritorious Service Award – George Ward

Ring 8′s Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year – Dave (Scooter) Honig


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John McKaie, who just came back from Las Vegas, after judging the Floyd Mayweather fight spoke on how he received the assignment. He stated that he did several regional & World title fights in Las Vegas in the past years and he word was out that he was being considered as one of the judges. When the list of judges first came out they spelled his name wrong and he wasn’t sure if they meant him, But after a while when he looked on the internet, his name was spelled right and he was on his way to Las Vegas. John stated that he felt relaxed and that he was more nervous in doing the smaller club shows. He stated that he scored the fight 8 rounds to 4 in favor of Mayweather and because of the point taken away his score ended up 116-111. He talked a little about the bite that Mayweather claimed he received. He also talked on the punch that rocked Mayweather at the end of the 3rd round, in which all 3 judges gave to Mayweather. He said Las Vegas is like no other place.

Our next meeting at the Crabhouse will be on Tuesday, November 18th with guest speaker David Berlin, the newly appointed executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission. Again, our October meeting will be at the Plattduetsche Restaurant, Franklin Square, New York on Thursday, October 16th. The guest speakers will be Sean Monahan and Bobby Cassidy Jr.

President Duffy then introduced many VIP’s that attended.


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4th Annual Ring 8 Picnic another HUGE Success!

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