Thursday, August 4, 2011

BronxWorks Sponsors Faces of Success Dinner: Former Middleweight Champion Iran "The Blade" Barkley Among Honorees

A few months back I was disheartened when local papers and blogs ran articles about Iran "The Blade" Barkey being homeless. Previously, I had the honor of meeting the former WBC Middleweight Champion at Giovanni’s Restaurant on 149th Street. He was pleasant and jovial. I felt bad that this champion, who had always professed pride in his Bronx roots, ended up homeless. Because I felt it was a stain on the Bronx, I went looking for him at the motel one of the articles mentioned he was living in, until funds raised for him by friends ran out. To my surprise, others must have found him and helped the champion get back on his feet. He is presently living in a BronxWorks apartment and giving back to the community by teaching Boxing skills to Bronx youth.

I posted footage from YouTube of the 1988 fight where Iran "The Blade" Barkley knockes out Tommy Hearns. I also posted the press release below sent by BronxWorks about his getting back on his feet and their upcoming dinner. BronxWorks taking care of our Bronx Champion proves their hart is in the right place and that their events, like the upcoming dinner honoring former homeless people, should be supported.

Good luck to BronxWorks and all the individuals that will be honored at the up coming Faces of Success Dinner!! Enjoy the footage.


Taken from BronxWorks press release;
"Just eight months ago, Iran “The Blade” Barkley was sleeping on the subway. Now the former middleweight boxing champion has his own apartment and volunteers with young athletes at a local school and gym.

Barkley is just one of the 250 formerly homeless individuals whose return to permanent housing will be celebrated at an August 17th Faces of Success dinner sponsored by BronxWorks. In the last six years, according to the NYC Department of Homeless Services, street homelessness in the Bronx has gone down 80 percent. This is the most of any of the five boroughs.

The dinner will recognize the strength and courage of the individuals who have made a successful journey from homelessness to home and the work of those who helped them. Guests will view a photography exhibit of the new residents and their homes and a documentary starring some of the Faces of Success. Leaders of the Street-to-Home initiative will talk about working together toward this triumphant outcome.

But the evening’s highlights will, no doubt, come from people like Barkley, who won his championship in 1988 and whose last major bout was in 1997. He told the New York Daily News that just walking into his apartment “was the greatest feeling in the world, knowing nobody can tell me to get out.”

The event will begin 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 17, at Fordham University’s McGinley Center, Rose Hill Campus.

For more information, please contact Doug Becht at (646) 393-4072 or"

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