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Punching Back Time: Portraits of Senior Boxers

referee holding up finger in front of senior boxer

David Eulitt has been a photography buff ever since 1978 when he took that trip from Kansas to California together with a Polaroid Pronto B. The experience left an indelible relationship between him and cameras ever since. Eulitt was a grizzly 13. Since then, he has been a prolific lens man, and is the recipient of the 1993 Robert F. Kennedy award for his coverage of the 1992 Paralympic Games in Spain. He also won the 1995 NPPA Region 7 Photographer of the Year for his year-long portfolio. His recent work, Punching Back Time is a series on the 2nd Annual Ringside Masters Championship boxing tournament. It is an event for amateur boxers ranging in ages from 35 to 75 held in Kansas inside a hotel ballroom.

senior boxer gearing up for boxing match

senior boxer with hood on

Eulitt came up with an impressive collection which certainly did not look like a photo assortment of old men way past their physical prime. Instead Punching Back Time is a nod to the seasoned warrior, men who unmistakably at these ages must have licked a fight or two, and not just in the ring. The gloves and the ring are simply metaphors, as the senior boxers are portraits of perseverance and survival. Shot partially with film and presented in black and white, the pictures are replete with drama as these elderly pugilists are captured by the camera.

senior boxers fighting

senior boxer in the ring boxing

Eullit discusses his experience with the photoshoot:

“A story about men in their 60′s (and 70′s!) getting in the boxing ring seemed custom-made for me. My two favorite things to shoot in photojournalism are sports and portraits, so I look for any excuse to combine the two. I knew there would be some great faces and most likely, some great characters too. I had planned initially to make this a portrait photo essay only, getting the boxers to come over to my makeshift studio after their fights while they were still taped up and sweaty. The boxing ring was inside a hotel ballroom and there was just enough room in the corner for me to set up a backdrop and my lights.”

View the whole series and see a different kind of ring warrior.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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