Mt. Healthy boxing gym helping kids needs community’s help to stay fighting

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A boxing gym in Mt. Healthy has been a place for kids to escape the violence of the streets, but soon, the gym could be gone.

For more than a decade, Real Deal Boxing Club has provided kids an outlet from the streets.

Now that the property the gym sits on has been sold, owner Kevin Benford fears kids will not have a place to go if he doesn’t find a new home for Real Deal Boxing Club.

“We see how these kids are doing out these streets, so we’re trying to change a lot of lives,” says Real Deal Boxing Club coach Gary McNear. “If we can change 1 out of 20, we doing good.”

Over the past decade-plus, hundreds of kids have walked through the doors and into the ring of Real Deal Boxing Club.

Benford wants the club to be a safe haven for the youth to keep them off the streets.

“A lot of kids don’t have nothing to do after school, so they find themselves getting into trouble,” Benford says.

Kids as young as five years old come to the gym daily.

“Being that we’re located in one of the high rises in crime neighborhoods, we’ve been able to save numerous amounts of kids’ lives,” explains Benford.

Lawrence Davis Jr. credits Real Deal Boxing Club with helping him prioritize schoolwork and avoid distractions that can lead to trouble.

“Helps stay disciplined, get good grades and all that type of good things,” says Davis Jr.

Parent Celeste Benton has also seen the benefits of the club.

She says it was a saving grace when her now 21-year-old started at the club when he was eight.

“Started off just as something to do to keep him off the streets, keep him out of trouble,” explains Benton. “But it’s like a dream come true cause then he signed with Floyd Mayweather. So, they [Real Deal Boxing Club] making dreams come true also.”

It’s the benefits that Davis Jr., Benton, and hundreds more could soon lose.

In less than a month, Real Deal Boxing Club will have to shut down if they do not find a new location.

“As of last week, we were issued a 30-day notice that we’ve sold and our building is going to be closing down,” says Benford.

Giving kids a fighting chance is the most important bout Benford says he has ever been in.

He hopes with the community’s help, he can continue his fight of getting kids a fighting chance at a bright future.

To help the gym, contact Benford at 513-652-2851 or email at

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