Pro boxing in Nashua sure to rock

NASHUA – About the only connection between Sully Erna and Nashua was a couple mid-1990s gigs at Sharky’s.

“That was way back, before we even got our first (record) deal,” said Erna, a native of the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts and the lead singer of the eclectic heavy-metal sensation, “Godsmack.”

It might be time for the city to embrace the 51-year-old rocker.

Erna will hit Nashua Community College on Friday, August 16 to host a special night of professional boxing, the return of pro boxing to the city after decades, and the evening, presented by Boston Boxing, will be driven by a spectacular cause.

“Scars for Scars,” will benefit Godsmack’s non-profit foundation, the Scars Foundation, which Erna and the band created to “Help raise awareness of the mental health issues that so many are faced with today.

With the rise of suicides, bullying, addiction, abuse and so many other challenges, The Scars Foundation is dedicated to providing resources and tools to educate and empower people on a global level that struggle with these burdens.”

A huge boxing fan and regular workout warrior in the ring, Erna leaped at the opportunity to get involved, especially so close to his home in Southern New Hampshire.

“The combination of ‘Scars’ and professional boxing is a nice little marriage,” said Erna, currently on tour with the band Maryland. “Boxing is a passion of mine, something I have really enjoyed being around.”

The foundation’s focus remains first and foremost to promote not just the treatment but the acceptance of depression as a clinical issue.

“We want people who are suffering to be able to wear their scars proudly,” said Erna. “We want to help people tell their stories, whatever they are, as a means to help heal them.”

It took some work from Boston Boxing Promotions and its director, Peter Czymbor, to pull this off.

“I met Peter at one of his shows previously in Windham at the Castleton, and I was totally impressed,” said Erna. “So we reached out to him on this, and he found us a great venue at Nashua Community College.”

Interestingly, Erna first got into boxing back in 2000 while touring with “OzzFest.” Legend Ozzie Osbourne first introduced him to it.

At the time, Mike Tyson and the heavyweight division were hot. Erna first took up the sport to keep fit. He soon found himself hooked.

Even these days, he has made a connection with one of the rising stars in the fight game, Joe Janik, who trains world champion super featherweight Andrew Cancio.

On August 16, Erna will be in the corner with Janik as their aspiring pugilist, two-time National PAL Tournament champ David Tubbs, makes his professional debut.

Erna hopes that Czymbor can help spur a bit of a boxing revival in the Granite State and in New England. Shows like the one set for August 16 in Nashua are a huge positive step.

“So much good can come out of boxing, especially in a lot of our cities,” said Erna, who grew up in Lawrence, Mass., and actually record his “Awake” album in a studio above the Haverhill (Mass.) Boxing Club.

“There are a lot of tough kids in these cities, and boxing can provide opportunities to help them get out of some tough


“It can get them off the streets. I’m excited about that.”

Shows like “Scars for Scars” on August 16 can help make that happen. Erna’s presence and participation, along with his dedication to the cause, can only help make it rock.