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The hardened jewel of Albany

April 3, 2014

by eddiekadhim

Coach Jerrick Jones looking on as two of his pupils spar.

Coach Jerrick Jones looking on as two of his pupils spar.

The pitter patter of small feet running across a cold gym floor. The sound of small children giggling as men three times their size cry out number combinations to punch into their hand pads. Quail Street Boxing, a city of Albany program is much more than just a boxing gym.

“It’s really the jewel of Albany where you have so many kids come in and go through our program, and it has really helped change a lot of lives in the Albany area,” said Jerrick Jones, the director and head trainer of the gym.

Jones has been involved in the sport of boxing since he was 8-years-old, and that is the age any kid can start boxing under his tutelage at Albany boxing. He is proud of the fact that boxing has allowed him to reach so many lives.

“We have some kids that are second and third generation in the program, which is great,” said Jones.

One of the gym’s bright young starts recently won his first fight, a second round TKO-and has another fight scheduled for the end of March. The 9-year-old slugger is a second generation boxer-his dad, James Davis is an Assistant coach at the gym and grew up pounding the pads at Albany Boxing as well.“Now that my son has an interest in the sport it just is all the more reason to stay involved in the sport I love,” said Davis “I can’t really explain growing up in an inner city what boxing did for me. It gave me a form of discipline, dedication and determination and it just did a great deal for me,”.

Currently the gym has three fighters ranked in the top five in their age and weight class in the country, but most of the kids that come down here will not have a future in boxing as a profession. For the children who train between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m the initial draw was a place where they could hit people. In fact of the six children interviewed, every one said their favorite thing about boxing was the fact that they got to hit people.

However the kids quickly realized the gym allows them to do much more than just hit things. For Isaiah Wiggins, a 6th grader who admits he used to get into a lot of trouble at school the gym is a place he can release frustration in a controlled manner.

“A lot of things I used to do, I don’t do anymore since I started boxing. If I’m mad at a person and I really want to hit them, I will just wait till after school and come here and hit the bag,” said Wiggins.

Albany boxing has created a group of friends that support him to be stronger, for Takeem Bradley a 3rd grader who claims to be the fastest runner in the gym.

“They help me be a better boxer, they help me when I get tired and start jogging they encourage me to run faster and not to give up,”said Bradley,

“I get back to see them experience what I experienced as a kid, the friendships I made, working hard and getting recognized for the hard work you do. Boxing helped me stay goal oriented as a kid and now I pass that down to younger generations,” said Jones

For those people who claim boxing is a violent sport and that Jones and his team are teaching kids violence, he will respond with a smile and kindly ask them to come down to the gym for a day and see what goes on. -30-


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