Female boxer enters ring to fight for dogs

Amy Freeze has the story
November 15, 2013 2:12:26 PM PST
Golden Glove champion Christina Beckles has not fought in the ring for 3 years! Now, she's back at Brooklyn's World Famous Gleason's Gym, home to historic prize fighters, the spot where Hilary Swank became Million Dollar Baby and where many legends got their star. Beckles goes center ring not seeking a title but fighting so dogs don't have to.

The Sato Project works on Dead Dog Beach, and the name states it all. On Vacation in Puerto Rico, Beckles saw thousands of abandoned dogs, and it changed what she wanted to fight for.

"There are 250 thousand stray dogs with only 4 shelters and a 99% euthanasia rate," says Beckles.

Beckles changed their individual plight, adopting two of the dogs for her own. She then quit her New York City job to start the Sato Project - finding forever homes for 400 dogs in her first year.

"Unfortunately between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's primetime dumping on Dead Dog Beach," adds Beckles.

Beckles got Amy Freeze into the ring to give her her first boxing lesson, explaining the basics of a sport that has so many parallels to her mission. The focus, the power and the intention, she says, is that not every fight is won with a knockout, but jab by jab. She is determined to alter these dogs and their title.

"We are rebranding these dogs, known as 'sato', which means 'street dogs'," says Beckles, "it's not endearing, but we hope to turn that around and make them the resilient symbol of Puerto Rico as their national dog!"

It is an ongoing struggle, but getting into the boxing ring this time is symbolic of a prize worth winning. When Beckles steps into the ring on Saturday, that is what she is fighting for - the dogs. The fight willl also be streaming at the Dumbo Kitchen in Brooklyn.

Beckles wants to help change not just the plight of the dogs on an individual level, she also wants to change their reputation, into a beloved dog of Puerto Rico and beyond - similar to the Chihuahua in Mexico.