Living in a Detroit neighborhood for decades, Khali Sweeney has gone round for round with the city’s ups and downs. Now, he’s helping revitalize the community through his after-school youth-development program – the Downtown Boxing Gym.
Each show airs monthly on FOX Sports Southwest and participating FOX Sports regional networks. Check local listings for availability and show times.
In a city that has witnessed a historic economic decline, high rates of crime, and a withering educational system, how do members of the Detroit community find firm enough footing to turn things back around?
For “Motor City” native Khali Sweeney the answer is simple: Fight through it.
In an effort to give back to his community, Sweeney founded an after-school youth-development program called the Downtown Boxing Gym. The organization embraces children growing up in some of Detroit’s toughest neighborhoods. Through boxing, it gives them an environment where they can let go of their deepest frustrations.
Boxing teaches you discipline. It teaches you focus. It teaches you to block out the outside noises.
Although the program gives students an opportunity to fine-tune their footwork and jab combinations, the Downtown Boxing Gym is actually an educational platform.
Before the students can hit the canvas, they have to hit the books.
On top of boxing instruction, the organization provides free, tailored solutions for each student’s educational needs. The training regimen includes tutoring, homework assistance, test preparation, project completion, and literacy and math intervention.
The boxing aspect serves more like a daily dose of discipline, refining the students’ mental and physical fitness while providing a safe space to vent their feelings.
The program also makes it easier for students to say what they are doing after school. Instead of being teased or bullied for going to a tutor after school, they can say they’re hopping in the ring.
My whole life has changed. I got straight A’s. I’m starting to tone down all my anger problems. I take it all out on the bag.
To learn more about Downtown Boxing Gym, visit DowntownYouthBoxing.org.