Kelowna’s Los Gatos Locos boxing gym isn’t currently your usual boxing gym.
Right now, wannabe boxers are training there for the opportunity to step inside a boxing ring and fight to make a difference in their community.
Owner and coach Geoff Lawrence has brought back ‘Three-Round Heroes” to give people an opportunity to change their lives via boxing, and in turn support local outreach programs.
“We recruit men and women who have never boxed before in their lives, give them three months of training, and the whole time their training, they fundraise,” said Lawrence.
The raised funds are then put back into the community to support recovery home programs at Ozanam House, Karis Support Society and Freedom’s door.
Over the past two years, more than $30,000 was raised and donated to help keep the doors open at the recovery homes.
The three-month training program is concluded with a celebration fight card between the “three-round heroes” and professional amateurs.
The event has now come full circle, as participant Joseph Dube, who was once in a recovery program, is now participating as an amateur boxer on this year’s fight card.
It was his way of giving back after receiving help last year.
“For me, it was a way to learn certain disciplines, and for me to challenge my anxieties and stress,” said Dube.
“The type of work that Geoff and his team do, I’ve seen them give so much of their time and energy in getting people to succeed, and that’s something that I want to be a part of.”
Lawrence and his team train the “heroes,” but as part of the fundraiser the gym donates time slots for men and women working with the outreach programs to come out and get boxing training.
Dube decided to enter the boxing world, and now he wants to pursue it further.
“I definitely choose to fight as a way to give back, to show people my ability to push myself, and to show other people that they can do it too. It’s definitely a personal thing, but I’m seeing how far I can grow in the discipline of boxing,” Dube said.
This year’s event fight card will feature eight to 10 charity fights, and then a similar number of amateur fights.
Lawrence said the event was a sell-out the past two years, and the impact of his program has been felt within the community.
“For the recovering addicts, for the participants, I get calls from guys’ mothers that are thanking me from the bottom of their hearts. It’s crazy how big of an impact it’s had for both,” said Lawrence.
“Going to keep donating and fighting for the community, because we care for our community, for as long as I’m here.”
The “heroes” are mid-training and the fight card is set for July 6 at the Rutland Centennial Hall.
Email Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information for tickets and donations.
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