Continued from Section 2A

The following is an excerpt from Xtreme Combat, the world’s leading combat magazine. [Article originally published one year ago.]


It’s appropriate that Fit for Fight’s official motto is ‘Sweat more, bleed less’. The individuals who occupied the gym during our visit were certainly perspiring. This isn’t a place one visits to admire the scenery either. The punching bags are torn and ragged, with only strips of peeling tape holding them together. The weights are rusted and look they haven’t been cleaned in years. The treadmill is one step away from falling to pieces, and it’s a miracle the boxing ring hasn’t collapsed with the building. But none of the patrons seem to mind. The weathered, back alley atmosphere appears to only fuel their workout routines—and what routines they are. Sweat flies in Fit for Fight like rain. The sound of clanging weights, fists connecting with the synthetic leather of punching bags, and strained (often pained) grunts are the noises that enliven the gym.

Since Fit for Fight opened 35 years ago, Granos holds quarterly exhibition tournaments which attract a gathering of amateur fighters. He says it brings in new members to the gym and allows his clients to engage in ‘friendly’ competition. Most of the tournaments have been strictly boxing but Granos has recently included mixed martial arts competitions as well.

Walking with a slight, almost unnoticeable limp (a bad knee he tells us), Granos isn’t one to mince words about the current state of combat sports.

“Now it’s all about augmented limbs and untraceable performance-enhancing drugs,” Granos says, waving his hand in dismissal, “its become a sideshow. Even when I was in the ring four decades ago, you started seeing it. The sport was getting more extreme then. I can’t even watch it anymore. Give me a guy who’s not juiced on something and who’s not walking around with cybernetic arms, and I’ll tell you what—I’ll jump in the ring to fight ’em. Now you’ve got fighters who are more machine than man. Sweat and blood’s what makes you a champion. Not technology.”

When asked about his own head injury and the possibility of augmentation decades ago, Granos made his feelings clear.

“Yeah, I could’ve had augmentation done back then. Not quite what the doctors can do today, but they said it would’ve gotten me back in the ring. That just wasn’t for me, and it was a good time to bow out. If I opted for all the augments over the years, sure I could still be in the ring now, at 72. But who wants that? They’ve ruined the sport by allowing that crap.”

With gym memberships down and the current state of the Alka District, we asked if Granos he had considered closing Fit for Fight and retiring completely.

“I’m not ready to hit the mat yet,” Granos claims, applying a new piece of tape to one of his damaged punching bags. “There’s a bit more mileage in me before that final bell rings.”

The first and second floors of Fit for Fight contain the entirety of the gym. Starting last year, Granos began renting the top floor out as an apartment.

“There’s a shower up there and everything,” Granos explains. “It’s not too pretty, but better than the street. There’s only one tenant, though the rent helps cover some expenses. I give them a discount and they help a bit with the upkeep of the gym. It’s nice.”

Granos lives several blocks away. He has never remarried since his first divorce, but claims his two cats are more than enough to keep him on his toes.

“I guess I could stay at the gym and live there, but it’s nice to get away and go home every night,” he says, before adding, “and I don’t think my cats would like it here.”

Danger Zone One. Story by Midnight. Art by Salaiix.