by Shambreon Richardson, Special to The New Tri-State Defender
Leather gloves clashing, three bloody noses, one bloody mouth, determination, perseverance and cheers of support from the crowd – all part of Boxing at the Pipkin 3.
Spearheaded by the Memphis Office of Youth Services and presented by Mayor Jim Strickland, Boxing at the Pipkin 3 was held at the Fairgrounds last Wednesday night (April 3). It was the third in a series of amateur boxing events designed to extend the sport to local youth.
“I thank God this is here, it’s something to keep my son busy,” said Freddie Carter, the father of one of the fighters. “This gives the kids something to do and I’m grateful for it. He’s doing better than I thought he would be.”
In three-round matches, the Memphis-area youth went head to head. Each competitor received a medal, with no winners declared.
“All children are valued, they are masterpieces and we need to let the youth know that,” said Ike Griffith, director of the city’s Office of Youth Services. “This teaches discipline and respect. You have productive individuals when they do positive things with their time.”
The matches were competitive. Weight classes ranged from 130 lbs. to 185 lbs.
“I’m happy my boys sparred against each other, this rarely happens,” said Ariele Johnson, whose twins were boxing participants. “I would’ve been more nervous against someone they didn’t know.
“I freaked out when I saw one kid bleeding but I’m so glad my boys sparred against each other. The only way they will get better is to fight each other.”
Johnson’s sons – Daniel and Terrell – are Memphis Police Gym boxers.
“It was a little weird sparring with my brother, but it’s nothing new because we’ve been at it since day one,” said Daniel Johnson.
“I didn’t want to hurt my brother,” Terrell Johnson said. “Plus … we know each other’s every single move play fighting and sparring.”
Sam Pearson’s son, Thaddeus, was among the boxers.
“Boxing saved my son’s life in a lot of ways and it gave him something to do and keep him out of trouble,” the elder Pearson said. “It’s just a passion of my son to box.
“My biggest (concern) as a parent for my son is head trauma and it could affect him in the end.”
The Pipkin Building welcomed another full house of spectators and supporters, with “oohs” and “ahhs” accenting the boxers’ combinations, uppercuts and ring prowess.
From the boxers’ corners came shouted instructions:
“Put up yo hands mane!”
Griffith said the message he’s trying to get to the youth is “there are things in life you can participate in and be good at.
“God helps us handle things we are given. Become a champion at something positive.”