At 29, former basketball star Philbrick is just having fun
When he wasn't getting into fist fights, Philbrick spent much of his youth on the basketball court. He played guard at Merrimack High School until he transferred to Manchester Memorial midway through his senior year.
It wasn't until Philbrick tore his ACL in a pickup basketball game that he decided to give boxing a try. So in March, at age 29, Philbrick stepped into a boxing ring for the first time.
"Boxing is something always I wanted to do, but basketball was always No. 1," Philbrick said. "After the injury my knee just wasn't the same. I couldn't jump or move as well. That's when I started doing beginner (boxing classes) and realized I could take a hit."
Last Saturday Philbrick proved that he could deliver a blow as well. Representing In the Ring Boxing and Fitness of Londonderry, Philbrick won the sub-novice heavyweight division of the New England Championship Tournament, an amateur event held in Billerica, Mass,, and run under the USA Boxing umbrella.
Philbrick, who still lives in Manchester, scored a third-round TKO victory over Jose Abreu of Lawrence, Mass.
The victory evened Philbrick's record at 1-1. He lost his first fight by decision in October.
"I was happy that I won one," Philbrick said. "Happy all my hard work had paid off."
Philbrick, who owns Philbrick Mechanical, has a wife and a 10-year-old daughter, but said his family has no problem with his avocation.
"I train six days a week, seven if I'm getting ready for a fight, but other than the time I spend at the gym I don't think my wife has a problem with it," Philbrick said. "I showed dramatic improvement in my last fight. I was a lot more confident."
Although he's unsure when his next bout will be, Philbrick said his boxing career is far from over.
"I have no expectations," he said. "I'm not looking to go pro or anything. I'm just looking to keep busy and stay in shape.
"I enjoy fighting. It's fun."