STUTTGART , Ark. – Boxing may be one of the oldest sports in the world, but a Stuttgart boxing club is using the sport as an alternative outlet for youth.
Trevor Diaz, 16-year-old Stuttgart High School Sophomore, is a boxer with ‘Stuttgart Gloves Not Guns Boxing Club,’ he has his sights set on success after winning the title of Arkansas State Golden Gloves Champion.
Diaz said he has wanted to be a boxer since he was young and competing for a title was thrilling.
“It’s a little nervous at first but after that first hit, it’s like Rocky we’re going at it,” Diaz said.
However, at the boxing club, President Jalicia Wyatt says every punch inside the ring is a strike keeping young people away from guns.
“It helps them to learn new techniques and stay out of trouble,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt said the club provides more than just a chance to win trophies.
“We provide the kids with a safe environment, where we give them tools and techniques that they can use in school and in the community,” Wyatt said.
She also adds they are hoping to change each kid’s life and provide mentorship and guidance.
“Some of our kids are referred through the court, some schools have sent to us our parents have. Some of our kids say it helps with their anger,” Wyatt said.
For other athletes who go to the club like Diaz, who hopes to go professional it gives them a new lifestyle.
“I just always loved boxing; it was something I wanted to do,” Diaz said.
Diaz also said he believes the sport has taken him to different heights since he has already got some titles under his belt but it has also allowed him to want to have a future in the sport.
“It’s just something I love, it’s just what I want to do for a living,” Diaz said.
Wyatt says as of right now they have more than 30 athletes training at the gym and nine are registered as boxers through USA Boxing, they hope to soon make the gym have more hours to hopefully increase the number of youth who are able to join.