These men have beef with one another, Phil Tufano bellowed from the center of the boxing ring in the parking lot of Gargiulo’s, a 110-year-old Italian restaurant in Brooklyn’s Coney Island. An FDNY battalion chief by day, on this night Tufano had traded his uniform for a white tuxedo jacket, black bow tie and black patent-leather shoes that glistened like the top of his hairless head under the bright police spotlights in each corner of the outdoor ring.

“You know how it is, even those of you who aren’t cops or firefighters. There are people at work who get on your nerves,” Tufano said, the lights on Coney Island’s defunct Parachute Jump ride changing color behind him as the sun began to set over the boardwalk. “We offer an outlet to fight it out like men, with the gloves.”

And so they did. Approximately 2,500 people — most of them off-duty cops, their families and friends — watched and cheered, drowning out the screams from riders on the nearby Thunderbolt roller coaster, as officers and sergeants from across the city proceeded to work out their grievances, their anger and lack of boxing experience showing in their wild swings, stumbling feet and reddened faces.


Photos taken June and August of 2017 using a Canon EOS-1D X DSLR with a EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens.

NYPD black and blue: The hidden world of ‘smokers,’ where cops settle grudges with their fists
Photos: NYPD settles disputes in the boxing ring in the 'Brooklyn Smoker'
Photos: NYPD boxing championships at the Theater at Madison Square Garden