Two men from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania migrated cross state to the fighting city of Philadelphia. Although they are not blood brothers, Steve and Eddie have been boxing together for the past fourteen years of their lives. Raised in Pittsburgh, Eddie Chambers, 28, and Steve Upsher, 26 both boast outstanding records for such youthful fighters, 36-2 and 23-1 respectively. Eddie, whom is ranked behind Tomasz Adamek in the IBF heavyweight rankings, recently beat Derric Rossy in an IBF eliminator bout. Steve is soon to be in negotiations for a junior welterweight NABF title shot. Both gentlemen are easy to talk to as we spent time talking about their futures, the future of boxing, and their adopted home of Philadelphia and what they are doing for their hometown of Pittsburgh.
Since turning pro in 2003, Steve has compiled an incredible record and is hopefully getting his first shot at a junior title. For any boxer this is a big step. Steve couldn’t be more excited and ready. With a recent return to running and soon to the gym, he understands that this is his time. Since his move to Philly, Steve is more than thankful to be an adopted Philly fighter. In the boxing world, one of the basic rules is to place your bet on a Philly fighter if all you know are the fighter’s origins. Coming from Pittsburgh, which has little boxing history, both Steve and Eddie are grateful to be Philly fighters. To have those Philly fighter connotations associated with you is an honor, and both Steve and Eddie appreciate that after moving to Philly in 2002, they have finally become accepted as Philly fighters.
Their move to Philly started when current manager Robert Murray was called out to Pittsburgh to check out Eddie. After being impressed with Eddie’s talents, Murray encouraged Eddie to move to Philly. Being longtime friends, “Brothers,” it was important to Eddie and Steve that they stick together. On August, 12th 2002, the two fighters moved to Philadelphia. Their first gym was the now closed Champs, a famous Philadelphia gym. After bouncing from rec centers to local gyms, the two have found a home at the James Shulers Memorial Boxing Gym in West Philadelphia. Shulers gym is a gym like none other they’ve ever experienced. “It’s the best gym in Philly. Flexible hours, dedicated fighters and trainers; It’s a family atmosphere. It’s the perfect gym to be at,” Eddie declared. The words were mimicked by Steve as well as the many other professionals who call Shulers home. Shulers gym boasts top amateurs, is home to cruiserweight champ Steve Cunningham and the IBF #1 ranked light heavyweight Yusaf Mack, to name a few. “It’s the place to be whether you’re hanging or training,” Steve added.
Of course Eddie and I talked about the heavyweight scene and the current state of boxing. Eddie who lost via twelfth round knockout by the hands of Wladimir Klitschko recently was given the opportunity for an IBF eliminator bout in which he fought and beat Derric Rossy. Eddie has fought all over the country and as well as overseas. The state of boxing overseas is different than what we experience in the United States. The United States is the only country that is in a boxing recession. And why is that? Eddie explained that in the 1990’s, every year would be graced with several superfights, with new superfights in the works. People would still clear the streets on a Tuesday night to watch boxing on television or at a local arena. Boxing had a following. This following is constant throughout the world besides the United States. “In Germany,” Eddie said, “people just want to see good fights.” Of course certain fighters command a fan base, but in general, the atmosphere is the desire to see a good fight. In Germany, a country in which Eddie has fought several times, the fans treat boxers, home fighters and foreign opponents, how Lebron James is treated in the United States. It is support. What boxing needs to continue its steady climb to the glory days is support. If fans demand good fights regardless of whom is fighting will push promoters to make good fights on low and high profile cards. More stars will be made and more fans will be gained with the consistent output of good fights between competitive fighters.
Besides being two of the top rising stars in their respective divisions, both Eddie and Steve are generous, giving people. The two are currently funding the creation of a boxing gym in Pittsburgh. Although they do not plan to train in this gym, the purpose is to serve as a haven for young Pittsburgh boxing talent. Philadelphia is one city that constantly puts out great fighters that range from tough opponents to test up and comers and stars such as Bernard Hopkins who is still a dominant force at the age of 46. When it comes to boxing, Pittsburgh is overshadowed by the fame and dominance of Philadelphia. In state amateur finals, Steve and Eddie could only recall a few occurrences (when they competed in the amateurs for example) in which a Pittsburgh fighter won Pennsylvania state tournaments. Pittsburgh fighters should not be discouraged and lose hope. Great things come out of Pittsburgh. One must put their mind to it, stay out of trouble and focus on improving themselves. Thus, the Upsher-Chambers Boxing Gym is being created for this purpose; to give hope, a positive place for self improvement, and show that Pittsburgh has and can still create great boxers.
Two great fighters with kind, giving personalities only deserve support. Whether in the boxing ring or in life, these two have worked hard to create opportunity for themselves and now are creating opportunities for others.