- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - The Kronk Gym Foundation is opening a facility in the Motor City, hoping it will help people of all ages in and out of the ring.

Anita Ruiz, the nonprofit organization’s executive director, said she signed a five-year lease on Monday to rent part of the Considine Recreation Center.

“I believe our programs are going to be assets to the community and our mission will be fulfilled very soon,” Ruiz said. “If we can save one youngster, we’ve done our job. And, I know that will be a done deal as soon as we open our doors.”

She hopes to open the facility next month with boxing equipment donated by the World Boxing Organization.

“We’re looking for volunteers to help us clean up the building and to get a lot of painting done,” Ruiz said.

To keep the doors open and provide scholarships, she hopes to get grants and donations.

Ruiz said she and the late Emanuel Steward founded the Kronk Gym Foundation in 2007, adding he was its president until he died in 2012. Steward, an International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer, worked with a long list of champions, including Thomas Hearns and Wladimir Klitschko.

People, both young and older, will be welcomed to make the most of several services without throwing or taking a punch under one roof at the foundation’s new home. Programs will be offered to help improve reading, writing and speaking thanks to a partnership with Excellence Matters Most.

“We’ll tutor, mentor and host workshops,” said Carmen Willingham, the nonprofit organization’s CEO and founder. “We’ll help the new facility under its education umbrella.”

Little Rock Baptist Church Rev. Jim Holley said he signed a 20-year lease to manage the facility six years ago when city officials planned to close it. Holley said he is thrilled to have the Kronk Gym Foundation sign a sub-lease to give the neighborhood another anchor that people can count on.

“It fits into how we’re trying to service the community,” Holley said. “We’ve got to keep these young people busy by giving them a recreational outlet and some skills for life.”

Steward’s family has also been discussing plans to establish a scholarship fund and to bring back the Kronk Gym, a trademark owned by his daughter, Sylvia Ann Steward-Williams. Within 24 hours of Steward’s death, the Kronk location in Detroit was closed at the request of his sister, Diane Steward-Jones.


Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/larrylage

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide