SWFL boxers try to deal violence a knockout blow

Posted at 11:49 PM, Aug 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 23:49:40-04

The Fort Myers community has had to deal with shootings, highlighted by the Club Blu tragedy that's left the community shaken.

In light of those shootings, Southwest Florida's light and heavyweight boxers turned to the sport in order to deal violence in our community a knockout punch.

"It keeps them off the streets and out of trouble," said Troy Yrborough, a boxer from Port Charlotte.

Gloves Not Guns gave boxers as young as seven more than just a fighting chance to make their dreams come true.

"I want to be a professional," said Angel Alvarez, a Fort Myers fifth grader.

Team Willis Boxing in Fort Myers are always on the lookout for talent no matter the family's financial situation.

"There's programs for everybody's budget. Money is not an issue, if you want to get off the streets and do something productive we will create an avenue," said Ryan Rickey, who organized the event.

He said boxing is a real commitment.

"The dedication that it takes for the sport. You got to focus on your eating, got to get at bed at night, you got to do it all, can't slack in any one department when you are doing this," said Anthony Rose, a boxer from Port Charlotte.

The event at the Stars Complex gave the Fort Myers a ringside seat to how fun the sport is.

"It's great for the community, it gives an opportunity to show people another route, sport for kids besides basketball and football," said Rose.

Boxing is becoming a more popular choice for teens.

"I would say its growing. Definitely growing with the youth, I would think its a good thing," said Rickey.

Gloves Not Guns also gave veteran boxers a chance to interact with the next generation.

"I feel blessed to be involved to be around see my friends get a chance to do their thing, its a beautiful thing," said Rose.