West End youth boxing event to end gun violence draws hundreds - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

West End youth boxing event to end gun violence draws hundreds

(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham) (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham)
(SOURCE: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham ) (SOURCE: FOX19 NOW/Gordon Graham )

The fists were flying Saturday night during a boxing event, ironically aimed at reducing violence. It was part of the “Put down the guns pick up the gloves”
There was standing room only and scores of people had to be turned away for safety reasons.

The auditorium at Taft High School was packed with people who came to see boys and girls duke it out in the ring for a good cause.

There were 14 bouts where the young boxers bobbed and weaved and tried to out punch one another. One featherweight match-up between two teenage girls was particularly fierce. 

Jurnie Hemsley, who wore red and white in that bout, says boxing is a positive outlet for kids and said, “Instead of getting in trouble out in the streets you could be in the gym working out.”

Keeping kids out of trouble is the goal of the event's host, 2007 world champion, Rau Shee Warren.

“You got a lot of kids out here that are doing a lot of different things and this boxing event, you know, is going to bring a lot of us together," stated Warren. "These kids don't have no direction right now.” 

These young boxers have the support of a lot of people including musician Bootsy Collins who says boxing is a good outlet for kids. 

“It's pent up aggression that needs to come out in a controlled environment like this," said Collins. "Taft High School is the perfect place.”

Former State Representative Dale Mallory says he organized the event to compliment the local gun buy-back program and provide a safe alternative to violence. 

He said the huge turnout means the message is getting through.

“These younger people have embraced what we're trying to do. For one, you know, hey they're all here and they're all safe and they're not out in the streets and in trouble a day after Christmas and I think they get the message that guns are not the answer.”

It's a message that also has the support of Roddy Williams of Price Hill who says he wants an end to gun violence.

“It's really important for me to be out here tonight to support our youth because right now so many individuals is out here continuously killing each other, you know, so much Black on Black going on right now and this is a good organization right now and they actually get the individuals out here, the youth out here to be able to come together in a positive environment.”  

This boxing event was the first of what's expected to be several such events and the proceeds go to support gun buy-backs and youth boxing programs.

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