With the state of the oil and gas industry, some local boxing clubs are depending on the community more than ever to help them keep their doors open.
Corner Man Boxing Gym in Lafayette is struggling financially after losing a major oil and gas industry sponsor.
“We’ve been having to use duct tape but by any means we are just trying to keep training. That’s really what the donations are for to buy equipment because if you want to be the best you have to be working with the best.” said Joshua Joseph a coach at Corner Man Boxing Gym that has been involved in the sport for nearly two decades.
Joseph has been coaching at CMBG since 2010. He says it’s important for teens to have a positive place to channel their energy.
“It’s a blessing I get to do it all over again just from the corner. And to see these kids when they win…you can’t explain that feeling. Just being around positivity makes you a positive person in general and that’s what we’re trying to inspire here.
Keon Papillion graduated from Northside High School last year and now attends SLCC. He’s trained at the CMBG for three years and can’t imagine his life without the sport.
“I’m kind of like the leader right now so I’m doing what I have to do to keep everybody on track right now. It just feels great to be around this sport.”
Shelton Leblanc is the president of the southern association of usa boxing and the head coach at backstreet boxing in carencro. and while his club wasn’t directly impacted by the downturn in the oil and gas industry, leblanc says gyms across the state are feeling the strain.
“We depend on people to help us out. Like for us, we pick up and drop off our kids so it’s a lot of gas money. But it affects pretty much everybody, all the boxing clubs in Louisiana.”
The 2017 National Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament will be held in Lafayette May 2017.