Why I Fight - Flawless Boxing Backstory

I have a confession to make, we didn’t start this mission for you. You were never supposed to touch the speed bag or step foot in our ring. We were never supposed to be teaching YOU the sweet science. In fact, Flawless Boxing & Fitness was not even supposed to be the the name of our gym. We were Flawless4Youth since 2010 when we formed our non-profit organization. Our mission is to work with disadvantaged youth; teaching them life skills through fitness and nutrition. It was not until 2014 that Flawless Boxing & Fitness was created. So here we are - thriving, building in the community, assisting with fitness, wellness, and instilling confidence in individuals from all walks of life. We are still sticking to our mission of empowering our youth; we just had to be patient and make adjustments over the years to ensure success and longevity.

Flawelss4Youth was a concept my wife and I developed as a part of my exit plan from professional boxing. When I reached a point in my boxing career where I felt I was about 5 years from retirement, I wanted to have a smooth transition into civilian life. We would eventually open up a community gym based on, but not limited to what I spent over half of my life doing - Boxing. I grew up fighting in gyms that were “real boxing gyms”, not like these commercialized fitness studios with bags hanging today. Kids were in the gym to escape the dangers of the streets. Ironically, a place that could produce so much violence could also provide a safe haven for folks. I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum while fighting in these types of gyms. I’ve seen what happens when youth go astray. They’re in and out of the gym, mostly with long spans of truancy. That story typically doesn’t end well. On the other hand, I’ve seen the good too. A young person sticking it out, training, competing, and dedicating their time, energy, and focus to the gym. That commitment and hard work translates to success outside the ring. I knew this, and so did my wife. I felt strongly; specifically about boxing, because I felt that the allure of competing in that ring could compete with the the adrenaline rush you get from violence in the streets. Boxing could lure the youth away from negative street culture and convince them to use that competitiveness and aggression in a positive manner. Flawless4Youth was formed for that purpose. I thought everyone would see the vision and understand this concept and I also thought we would have full support from local and political officials. I began knocking on doors, talking with other organizations, reaching out to all of our resources in the community. Everybody had good intentions and wanted to see the program do well, but it was never a top priority for them. It was a top priority for me. We started off by doing free boxing camps once a month. Other organizations would bring their kids to participate in our program or we would bring the program to them. Community organizations such as Fathers for Families would bus over numerous kids to train with us. We partnered with schools like American Legion high school and Samuel Jackman middle school, facilitating a lunch boxing program. Rosemont High made a field trip to come train at another gym we borrowed space from. We partnered and continue to partner with Mr. Roberts from Roberts Family Development Center by running a summer boxing program for their Nightlife Get Right summer long event. We continue an ongoing relationship with Sacramento Police Athletic League and combine efforts to mentor youth. We will forever support our youth and families by offering scholarships, resources and free outside engagement activities.

To continue to grow and expand our reach, we needed what most non-profits depend on. Money. Janelle, with her Masters in Social Work, experience working in non-profits and child welfare, would work tirelessly in an effort to apply for grants to help fund our work with the youth. It was a full time job in itself and still while working a full-time job, running the gym, and as a mother to two kids - she had her hands full. We had to think differently. Instead of solely depending on others to help the organization I resorted back to what boxing taught me. Work. Provide your own way. You’re the only one in that ring. You’re responsible for your own destiny. I saw what happened to those boxing gyms that depended on donations from their friends or local businesses, or even depended on grant money to keep their doors open. They closed down after a year or would have to move to another location before again having to moving to yet another location. They couldn’t provide stability to the community, but more important - they couldn’t provide stability and consistency to the youth. When we decided to open a gym, we concluded that this wouldn’t be the case for us. We decided in order to be successful we had to open the program and extend it to all.

Over these years of fine-tuning our boxing program that helps everybody achieve his or her fitness goals, build confidence, and increase self-awareness we were surprised that adults could benefit from the same intangibles that help our youth. We take a few bucks off every membership, every t-shirt, hand wrap, jump rope and protein powder we sale and funnel it into Flawless4Youth. This money helps provide partial and full scholarships to those who can’t afford the Flawless4Youth membership and materials they need for the gym. When these kids compete, this fund will cover the expenses that they incur with traveling, lodging, and food. These funds also cover all the other programs we are implementing; from mentorship and tutoring to educating families on nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle.

So… here’s why I wrote all of this, I wanted to make this confession to you. Flawless Boxing and Fitness has always been about the kids. Now, with you, we’ve made it about improving your lifestyle, shaping your character, and helping you to grow into a far better person than you could have ever imagined. You deserve it. I also wanted to thank you for doing what you have always been doing since joining this self-development program. Thank you for what you continue to do, for being a part of our fight fam, and for helping with Flawless Boxing and Fitness. I hope that, together, we will be able to help more kids find their feet in life, and grow into the kind of adults they’ve always dreamed of. I also hope that with your support, we will be able to help more youth find their way back by using boxing as a tool for success.

Always in Your Corner,