Boxing places many African Americans in the ring of history - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Boxing places many African Americans in the ring of history

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

World Boxing Hall of Famer, Aaron Pryor, put the Queen City on the map back in 1976.

"Muhammad Ali was the one who gave me the opportunity to become a world champion," said Pryor.

First defending his hometown and his country at the Olympics, but he's not the first. Cincinnati has a total of six worth title holders to date. From Freddie Miller in 1933 to Ezzard Charles in the 40's and 50's. The most recent is Adrian Broner.

"Boxing is like another family. I came from a broken home. My mother and father separated and divorced, and boxing kind of gave me a more discipline that I would have gotten had my father been around," said Buddy LaRosa, restaurateur.

Boxing is in LaRosa's blood as his father, Tony LaRosa, was a boxer. The well-known restaurateur financially supports the sport, sponsoring gyms, event and travel for local fighters

"Over the last maybe three or four Olympics we sent anywhere from 2-3 guys to those Olympics. I think that's just major," said Andrew Williams, CEO of R&R Promotions.

Raushee Warren, 25, is the first ever boxer to make it to three Olympic teams.

"There ain't nothing like going to the Olympics, because basically you're just seeing everybody you're seeing on TV. Your best athlete is representing the United States of America, just like I am," said Warren.

Coaches agree with Warren, saying part of the payment is watching, providing a positive influence for young people.

"Developing skills, learning skills, to be a young man for the future. Learning to mature. Have the discipline. Have the character. It's a lot to it than just coming in here boxing," said Coach Leroy Carter, Jr.

They do so all in a safe environment.

"Most people don't realize it, but amateur boxing is the safest amateur sport that a young man or a young woman could participate in," said Art Neuman, Director of Boxing Cincinnati Golden Gloves.

Above all, champs say boxing is about putting young ones on the right rack in a language everyone can understand.

"I had my faults, and I had to get myself back together. I turned my life over to Christ. And I'm a deacon at New Christian Baptist Church. I talk to the kids about my problems and stuff. Hopefully I can influence them to not try drugs. Don't do it," said Pryor.

"It brings everybody together. Boxing is a unifier. I don't care what ethnic a person is, a boxer is. It doesn't matter. We're just all boxing fans. And there's always love in the air at a boxing match," said LaRosa.

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