MINNEAPOLIS — A new nonprofit boxing gym opened in north Minneapolis this week, offering free memberships to kids under 18.
Fighting Chance Boxing Club is now the only place that offers boxing on the city’s north side. It opened with the mission of helping inner city kids learn discipline, fitness, confidence, and compassion.
Located in an abandoned fire station on N 33rd Ave., it offers boxing in addition to yoga, weight training, a community garden and nutritious meals.
“It’s about the whole experience of a healthy lifestyle,” said Ryan Burnet, president of Fighting Chance.
Burnet co-founded the gym with Minneapolis police officer Victor Mills, who quit his job to put his full focus into the project.
Mills credits boxing with turning his life around at age 13. He says by that age he was already doing drugs and getting into trouble, until his mom took him to a gym.
”A lot of people say to me, ‘Why do you want to teach these kids who are angry- why do you want to teach them boxing?’” said Mills. “What I would say is, ‘I was that angry kid. What you taught me was how to release my anger in a safe way—in a disciplined way.’”
He told KARE 11 he’s hoping the gym will have the same positive impact on the kids who live in the area.
“Start off with this corner, this block, and then maybe someday it will help the entire north side,” said Mills. “But we’re going to take it nice and slow and give the kids a safe place to go, and hopefully it will make a difference in someone.”
Neighbors told KARE 11 they were thrilled to see the old fire house filled with positive activities for kids.
“I’m just excited about it happening,” said Bonnie Engle who lives a block away from Fighting Chance. “The kids around here need it so bad, ’cause we’re losing them to the streets–including my grandson.”
Engle says her grandson survived a stabbing last summer.
“I think boxing hopefully will teach them to be proud of themselves and stability and to..keep them so that they’ll go on the right path,” said Engle.
Fighting Chance Boxing Club is open Monday through Saturday year round. It’s free to children and is also open to adults with a donation.
You can donate to Fighting Chance Boxing Club on its GoFundMe page.