The Fighters TV Poster Image

The Fighters



Boxing reality is edgy but shows softer side of sport, too.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Boxing is promoted as a way of helping young people, by offering them an alternative to the tough streets of Boston, and giving them discipline, direction, goals, and a chance to let off steam in a supervised and constructive way. 

Positive role models

The trainers are sometimes rough around the edges, but they are trying to help the young men of their community.  The amateur boxers are serious about doing well in the sport. Some folks have struggles with addiction, anger, and other issues.


The focus is on boxing, and much of the violence is offered in this context. Boxing matches often lead to black eyes, bloody noses and lips, and other injuries. Outside of the gym, the trainers often get into arguments that lead to physical altercations. Some amateur boxers have a history of stealing and street fighting. There's some occasional tough talk between fighters. 


There are lots of shirtless men, but it's shown in a nonsexual context. 


Words like "ass" and "bitch" are audible; curses like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped. 


Peter Welch's Gym is prominently featured. Boston-area gyms like Tomasello Boxing Club, The Zoo Gym, TNT Boxing, and Big East Gym are also shown.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some amateur boxers have issues with drug and alcohol abuse. Beer drinking is sometimes visible. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Fighters contains lots of bleeped cursing, some drinking, and references to drug and alcohol addiction. There are also lots of punches thrown (sometimes outside of the boxing ring). But it also contains positive messages about giving back to the community, and how a sport can help young people rise above difficult circumstances. The series is also a promotional vehicle Peter Welch's gym, as well as various other Boston-area training centers. 

What's the story?

THE FIGHTERS is a reality series featuring trainers and amateur boxers participating in weekly boxing matches in Boston's South End. Veteran "Southie" Peter Welch, a boxer and gym owner, is revitalizing South Boston's boxing culture by arranging and promoting weekly bouts with amateur boxers representing various gyms around the area. Each week Welch and other former Southie boxers-turned-trainers like Joe Ricciardi, Joe Ennis, Tim Stanton, and Mark Deluca, choose their top amateur fighters to represent their gym in a match. After a week of tough training, the fighters go head to head in three rounds in the ring at Welch's gym. Throughout the process, the young boxers share some of their own personal struggles, and reflect on the role boxing plays in their lives.

Is it any good?


The Fighters offers a surprisingly sensitive look at the tough world of the Southie boxing culture, which has been credited in the past with producing outstanding professional boxers, and for providing stability to young men living in South Boston's rough neighborhoods. It offers some insight into what makes a strong boxer, and reveals some of the struggles today's young fighters are facing, like poverty, homelessness, and addiction, while trying to commit to the sport. 

Granted, some of the conversations (and arguments) between the trainers seem contrived. But most of the young fighters appear honest in their desire to commit to the sport, and to use it to somehow improve their circumstances. Meanwhile, the trainers appear earnest in their desire to help the young men in their community. Boxing fans will certainly be drawn to it, but the overall show has enough heart to appeal to larger audiences. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about sports. What are some of the ways that participating in a sport can help kids and young adults? Are their any drawbacks to getting involved with athletics? What is this show's message about sports? 

  • What are some of the stereotypes that exist about athletes in the media? Does this show perpetuate these stereotypes or diffuse them? 

TV details

Premiere date:January 23, 2014
Cast:Peter Welch, Joe Ricciardi, Joe Ennis
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

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