Boxing
6:00 am
Mon March 17, 2014

OTR Boxing Center helps kids deal with life's jabs

The Over the Rhine Boxing Center is a hit. The shiny new gym, part of the OTR Recreation Center, is getting kids off the streets and teaching them leadership, sportsmanship and ethics, according to the people who run it.

Last year crews converted an old leaky pool at the recreation center into what may be the largest boxing facility in the Midwest. Buddy LaRosa had a lot to do with it. He said, "Our goal is just to provide a second family atmosphere because most of these young men are not from the traditional two-parent homes."

Since the 1970s LaRosa has set up boxing gyms all over Cincinnati. He's in his 80's now and so is the executive director of the Cincinnati Golden Gloves, Art Neuman, who joked, "I'd like to say I managed David when he fought Goliath, but I'm really not that old." Neuman said he's had some success in his life and he likes to give back. Neuman and others help the kids turn their lives around.

Some of those successes over the years have translated into boxers becoming police officers, firefighters and small business owners. Coach Billy Joiner says he owes his success to the mentoring that came from Cincinnati boxing. Joiner beat Cassius Clay when he was an amateur. He also fought Sonny Liston. (about six minutes in, on the video below)

Winning helps the kids at the Over the Rhine Boxing Center develop a sense of self worth. Sixteen year old Desmond Jarmon has been boxing since he was seven. He just took home a gold medal. So did eight others from the OTR Boxing Center March 1 and 2 at the Arnold Sports Festival.

LaRosa was also honored at the event.