Beyond Vassar

A Vassar Knock Out

By Micah Buis '02

Despite having taken time off from boxing while at Vassar, Anthony Stronconi ’02 has returned to his passion with a vengeance. Since graduation, he has captured the New York Golden Gloves title at 152 pounds. And now he plans to go pro.

Stronconi, a sociology major, began boxing when he was only seven years old. One morning when his father—an amateur boxer until age 33 and the one-time sparring partner of Tracy Patterson—was rushing off to work, Stronconi demanded a lesson on the speed bag that hung on their front porch. After some adjustments to account for Stronconi’s height (he had to stand on top of a box placed on a chair to reach the bag) his father complied, and by the end of the workday, “He had beaten his knuckles raw,” the elder Stronconi recalled in a recent Poughkeepsie Journal article. “He’d been on the speed bag all day. He could make it sing.” What followed were many late nights up with dad, watching fights on TV.

At 14 Stronconi had his first bout, following instruction from ex-heavyweight champ Floyd Patterson, and having read just about anything boxing-related he could get his hands on. “I don’t know how to describe it, but I caught the bug,” Stronconi said in the article. By 17 he won the silver medal at the Empire State Games, stealing the gold there just one year later from a Yonkers police officer.

To aid his transition to professional status, Stronconi has focused intensely on training during the last year, turning his grandmother Vinnie’s garage (he lives with her to help her out) into his personal gym and training there seven days a week. And despite the intensity of his training, Stronconi continues to work as a job coach for the autistic and developmentally disabled near his home in Beacon, New York—a job he says he’ll stick with even after turning pro.

Even though going professional might seem a challenge, Stronconi feels surprisingly comfortable with the change. “It feels like the most pure activity. Once I’m in [the ring], it’s back to normal. It’s like I’m home. I feel lucky to do a sport I grew up with and that I love to do,” he said.