Boxing gyms helping kids stay off streets

Local News

Boxing can be a brutal sport.

But it forces you to learn some valuable life lessons.

“Discipline mainly. Hard work, you know they have to work hard to get what they want,” said Pena Boxing head coach Patrick Pena. “And you definitely have to do that for boxing. If you don’t, you can take punishment.”

That’s what kids at Pena’s Boxing Club and Beaslys Boxing Club learn every night.

And the hope is that they take those lessons outside of the ring.

“Hopefully they learn, that they don’t need guns, they don’t need to be fighting in the streets,” said Pena. I talk to them about their school work, about the things they need to get done.”

The two clubs are working together to give kids a place to go after school.

“A lot of us don’t have no place to go after school. Mom’s at work or gone, dad’s not here,” said Beasley Boxing Coach Leonard Overstreet. “And we’re at home, we’re either fighting with our brothers and sisters and we come here to get that love.”

That’s something that Overstreet knows about.

“Boxing gave me what no one else could give me. I gave me discipline, it made me believe in myself and it showed me how to prioritize my life,” said Overstreet.

He knows there’s other kids in similar situations.

“I got picked on a little bit and I wanted to show people that I can actually do something. I can prove myself and not be the little wimpy kid,” said Anniken Cooper, a ninth grade boxer.

So this is how they’re helping out.

And the plan is simple.

“Keep them off the streets. And that’s the whole thing about boxing. And from that point on, once you start liking boxing, you learn to love it, you look forward to it,” said Overstreet. “And guess what? You’ll prioritize life, you gotta be good in school to get to the boxing gym.”

They’re winning fights too.

And that has their kids dreaming big.

And that right there is why they do it.

“The main thing is the smile on their face. You see the smile on their face, that’s worth a million dollars,” said Pena.

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