January 9, 2012

KO Digest goes Beyond the Badge in 2012!

Beyond the Badge
By Jeffrey Freeman - As the writer, editor, and creator of KO Digest, I'm very pleased and proud to announce that KO Digest will be expanding from the cyber page to the printed page in 2012! That's right boxing fans, KO Digest will now appear regularly in a newspaper style publication called Beyond the Badge! With a readership of over 100,000 people within the New England law enforcement community, Beyond the Badge is a great opportunity for KO Digest to grow and reach a wider and more diverse audience.

As a writer, what can I say, it's a dream come true! Perhaps a quick refresher course is in order on the history of KO Digest and how we (and I) got to this point. As a boxing fan for 30 years (getting my start in 1981 at age 11 in Brockton, Massachusetts) I began to get involved in writing about boxing in 2009 when social media websites really started making it very easy for me to interact with other boxing fans and people within the boxing community. I would mostly blog on Facebook, primarily on the Ring Magazine page.

I was trying very hard to get noticed by somebody who might be able to help me get even more involved.

Around this same time, I reunited with an old boxing friend of mine, Edwin Ayala, and this reunion was a huge source of inspiration for me! I learned that my old friend was suffering from a rare and incurable disease and that this disease was slowly but surely robbing him of his ability to communicate, among other things. I realized that as much as I was doing what I was doing for me, I was doing it just as much for my friend. I wanted to give him a voice, a forum, and an outlet for all the boxing related stuff that we had in common as young boxing fans growing up in Brockton in the 80's & 90's. It may sound corny, but I wanted to make OUR dreams of youth come true and on April 16th, 2011 it did, as we attended our first live fight together as credentialed boxing reporters. That fight was Victor Ortiz against Andre Berto at the MGM Grand in Foxwoods, Connecticut. It was also the 2011 Fight of the Year!

Ace Ayala, Kevin Rooney, and I in 1993
But let's back up a bit. In January of 2011, I was contacted by the owner of a small boxing website and he asked me if I wanted to write about boxing for his site. My plan was working! This was a great first opportunity for me and it really lit a fire under my ass. By the end of the year, I had become truly involved in the boxing media and was looking to take things to the next level. The problem now was that I was quickly outgrowing the small website I was writing for.

Citing creative differences, I parted ways with that website in October 2011 and decided to make a go of it on my own. With some invaluable assistance from a friend and boxing publicist named Bob Trieger, I was able to make the transition work with my own boxing website and with my own presence in the boxing media community. Honestly, it was scary to make that change, but it was worth it and I am so glad that I did it.

In December 2011, I wrote a story that would open a new door for me and for KO Digest. That story was Lowell's Finest, my take on the best boxers ever from Lowell, Massachusetts. The story was an instant hit and the feedback was great. For the first time since I started writing about boxing, I could really tell that people were actually reading my work and that the good word about KO Digest was getting out. Traffic to the site was increasing daily and the Lowell's Finest story very quickly became the single most viewed article I had ever written and published. In addition, the KO Digest Facebook page www.Facebook.com/KODigest was also taking off and it quickly became one of the hottest spots on social media for boxing news and talk. Once again, my plan was working!

Enter Beyond the Badge! One of KO Digest's readers and friends on Facebook is a local boxing fan named Jerry Flynn. Unknown to me at the time was the fact that Mr. Flynn publishes a local paper for members of the New England law enforcement community called Beyond the Badge. Initially, Jerry provided some of the critical feedback for the Lowell's Finest story and just when I was ready to move along to the next story and leave Lowell's Finest in the hands of the readers to debate, Jerry asked me if I wanted to write a monthly boxing column for his publication! Sensing a perfect fit, I quickly accepted and began work on my first article for Beyond the Badge. My hope is that readers of Beyond the Badge will enjoy reading it as much as I know I enjoyed writing it. I'm truly looking forward to bringing boxing news and information to my brand new audience! The law enforcement community can be a tough crowd and I know this but I'm up to the challenge.

Thanks again to Jerry Flynn for this amazing opportunity. KO Digest salutes you sir!

And so as KO Digest grows and expands, I also want to thank everybody who has helped me make it what is today and what I hope to make it in the future: the very best boxing website online, a friendly place where fans of all ages and from all generations can interact on the greatest sport of all, professional boxing! And the next time somebody tells you that boxing is dead and that they haven't seen boxing in the paper for years, tell them to go pick up a copy of Beyond the Badge!

Boxing writer Jeffrey Freeman is originally from the City of Champions, Brockton, Massachusetts.