Black man in gray shirt taping up the hand of a young white boy in a yellow tank top

Norman Mailer wrote there are two types of brave men. Those who are brave by the grace of nature “the naturally brave” and those who become brave by “an act of will.”

Boxing gyms are filled with the former. The “naturally brave” announce their presence loudly. They substitute courage for training. They boast. They brag. They climb into the ring unprepared. They lose and disappear as quickly as they arrived.

Those who become brave by an “act of will” follow a different path. These young women and men come to the ring humble and aware of what they don’t know. They watch, listen and learn. They understand that any defeat is temporary and each time they rise from the canvas they do so stronger than when they fell.

Day-by-day, round-by-round, their skills grow. Unsteady swipes transform into artful combinations of jab, cross and hook. Agile foot work complements increasing quick hands. Fear is overcome. The fear of being hit. The fear of hitting. The fear of answering that opening bell and standing toe-to-toe with your opponent for ageless minutes.

Laboring alongside them, preparing them, mentoring them are coaches, recreational workers and athletic directors. For every hour spent by the boxer, the coach puts in two. These are resolute men and women whose business is building character as much as it is teaching the sweet science of self defense. At Barack Recreation Center they include Coach Everett Smith, Tavares Dishmon and Mr. Dwight Hughes.

Each year at the southside Barack Recreation Center (580 E. Woodrow, off Parsons Avenue), there is a celebration of Columbus Boxing Legends. The entire neighborhood turns out to honor local boxers who have excelled both in the ring and with their lives. The festivities are built around a full card of boxing ranging from the lightest to the heaviest weight classes. Competitors range in age from pre-teen thru adult.

This year the date to remember is February 16, 2019. The event will take place from 5-8:30pm. There is a nominal entrance fee which is used to support the boxing program. The food and drink are good. The company is extraordinary. The competition is outstanding.

Come support local boxing and help us honor the Columbus 2019 Boxing Legends including:

- Michael Clark

- Charles Buggs

- Tyrone Spence

- JD.McCauley

- Rodney Cupe

- Fred Anderson

- Pete Seward

Martin Luther King said “Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.” The Boxing Referee says “Protect yourself at all times.” The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Jab, Cross, Hook. Repeat as necessary.

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