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Youth boxing club in need of new space

Posted at 10:29 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 23:29:55-04

Jackson's Boxing Club, a youth boxing that's been in Omaha for more than three decades is in need of a new home. 

The club is a nonprofit, and a place where dozens of young kids go to in the evenings to train for boxing competitions and stay out of trouble.

"We want to make sure we're not just developing good fighters but good people," said Coach Chris Hardesty. 

The club is currently located at 26th and Leavenworth.

Since the nonprofit is run by volunteers and is free for all boxers, the club doesn't have money to rent out a space. The building owner let the club train in his building free of charge.

"I actually ended up knocking on this guy's door a couple years ago. And we didn't have a place to go to at that point and it's kind of hard getting donations in the boxing world. There's no help from the state or city so whatever you're gonna do you gotta do it on your own," said Hardesty. "So we came in here and made a great gym out of it."

The only condition the building owner had was that the club would have to move if another business wanted to pay to lease the space. Recently, the club was told the space would be leased to another business and would have to find another place to train.

"He's been nothing but kind - the most generous person to us since I've been around," said Hardesty about the business owner.

The coaches are eager to find a new location before more summer competitions. The club has several kids ranked nationally in USA boxing. 

"We get a lot of tough kids here at Jackson. Most boxing clubs do. It's an inner city sport where only the tough and strong kids survive," said Hardesty.

Hardesty says this beyond competition, his club helps youth stay out of trouble.

"This is probably one of the only guarantees in Omaha where a kid isn't going to get in trouble for three hours. They won't be getting into a gang fight. It's a guarantee they won't be out committing a crime or getting arrested. There's no price tag on that," said Hardesty.

"Everybody here is like family. Chris is like a second dad to me," said boxer Tirell Allee. "If I didn't have this club I'd probably be fat - out on the streets doing something I'm not supposed to be doing."

"I like coming here because I like burning off steam and energy. It makes you see the point of like, I fight here, so why fight out there," said Leo Santacruz, who's been boxing with Jackson's Boxing Club for four years.

Hardesty says the club is looking for any donated open space where they can put a ring and hang some heavy bags. 

To contact Coach Chris Hardesty you can visit their website or call him at (402)707-9834.