Garland Boxing Gym athletes attend tournament; city manager tours gym
The world’s largest amateur boxing tournament was held recently at the Silverstein Eye Center Arena in Independence, Missouri and the Garland Boxing Gym is proud to have sent more than 25 boxers and coaches to the competition. Six rings, seven sessions, 1,000 bouts and 1,500 athletes help classify this annual competition as a can’t miss event. Students as young as 8-years-old, as well as adults over 40, competed in their respective divisions.
An extraordinary opportunity for amateur boxers, entrants from around the world will be gathering in Independence to fight in the 2017 Ringside World Championships contest.
Several student athletes from the Garland Boxing Gym attended the event to defend titles won last year. Six of them won world titles and nine made it to the finals. Three secured runner-up positions.
To underline the far-reaching significance of this competition, one of the female student athletes from the Garland gym defeated a female boxer who had come from Ireland to vie for a title.
City Manager Bryan Bradford visited the gym one afternoon when the competitors were training and retired Garland Police Department Lt. Dave Swavey gave Bradford a tour of the facility and explained how the program works. Swavey also outlined how the gym is funded through financial and equipment donations and grants.
He also told Bradford about how well the kids do in school with the help of retired Garland ISD teacher Ann Noska. All student athletes that train at the Garland Police Boxing Gym in both the boxing and karate programs must meet program requirements to participate and one of those requirements is that they must be passing all classes. Noska keeps up with each participant’s status and tutors them when they need help, but no exceptions are made on the passing grade requirement. The rule at the gym is “School first, boxing and karate second.”
According to the boxers, this rule is the motivation they need to work hard at school. This is evidenced by the fact that more than 70 percent of students’ grades qualify them for the honor roll.
Boxer Reggie Williams, a student at Sellers Middle School said that the boxing program gives him something to do. He added that it has boosted his confidence.
Alex Espinoza, who attends Austin Academy and Oscar Torres, a junior at Naaman Forest High School, agreed that they are more focused in school and that knowing that good grades are a requirement of participation.
During the tour Bradford praised the efforts of the gym and all who work to keep it going.
“Who would have believed that an old Safeway building would turn into this kind of hub of activity that changes so many lives,” he said. “Thank God for that. This is how you truly make a difference.”
In addition to keeping their grades up, the students must follow these rules: Don’t break the law or misbehave; don’t disrespect others.
Swavey expressed pride in all the kids.
“In 22 years, I have seen so many wonderful children come through this gym and then come back later and bless us with what they’ve become,” he said. “Knowing that we’ve been able to plant seeds in their lives to get them to go out and make it on their own is great. For so many of them, failure is almost expected. For them to be successful does our hearts good.”
Following is a list of boxers who attended the tournament:
Mark Brimmage (police officer)
Edgar Borusqueta (police officer)