Page 574 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 574

554                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               Tuffy’s interesting shop is located at 597 Castro in San Francisco.
            The USA Club phone is (415)621-2128.


            Greg Varney is a man who knows what he wants and how to organize what
            he gets. Native to the Bay Area, Greg has wrestled and boxed in a variety
            of cities, but chose San Francisco as the founding city for his Boxing and
            Fighting Club. The disarming Varney, who has the face of a Botticelli
            boxer, has plenty to say about sports and the gay men who play them.
               “I started boxing when I was eight years old,” Greg tells me, “and I
            won a Golden Gloves title when I was seventeen. I’ve always loved boxing
            for itself. Those locker-room romances are porn-film fantasies. Not that
            boxers aren’t gay. Just that most male athletes at the mere mention of
            homosexuality really tighten up. I mean when I watch a bout I don’t go to
            see the bodies per se. I go to watch the technique. Secondarily, the bodies
            from light to heavyweight interest me.
               “What turned me on sexually to boxing was once when I was thirteen
            I boxed naked with another kid for about thirty seconds. I tried not to
            think about that during my amateur career; but when I was twenty-four,
            I came out. Ever since then, my main purpose has been to open up box-
            ing to gay men who never were aware that this sport could be available to
            them. For instance, my roommate, Mike Mooney, started boxing in May,
            1976. When I started teaching him to box, I found he was really good
            and highly motivated. So I took him to my local gym and we started his
            amateur career. So far, he’s had two amateur bouts and is scheduled for
            his third. Something Mike always dreamed about doing, but thought he
            couldn’t, has happened — so far successfully.
               “Meeting men such as Mike who like boxing and fighting doesn’t
            happen easily on the streets or in the bars. So I put ads in various gay
            publications and got a real flood of letters and calls. Right away I knew I
            had to weed out the phonies, and there were plenty — about 75 percent.
            A phony, I judged, was a guy more interested in jerking off looking at
            himself or me in our Everlast gear than he was in actual training or spar-
            ring. Sex is for-sure involved, but secondarily. With this premise, I started
            the Bay Area Boxing and Fight Club in 1976.
               “Mike and I looked for the right place, both to live and to box. We
            finally found a super-big apartment with an attic space large enough to
            set up our regulation-size boxing ring. Our facilities now include different
            weight boxing gloves, headgear, and other protective boxing gear, heavy
            bags, speed bags, and a general workout area near the boxing ring itself.
            [Many photographs which David Hurles and I shot especially for this

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   569   570   571   572   573   574   575   576   577   578   579