OSF Spotlight: Rip City Boxing - KPTV - FOX 12

OSF Spotlight: Rip City Boxing

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

What do you do for your kid when team sports just aren't for them?

How about boxing? Discipline, respect and courage – it can all be found in the gym when the kids lace up their gloves with Rip City Boxing.

Sweat equity: it's what Rip City Boxing survives on.

"The only goal we ask is that you work hard," said James Franco. Rip City Boxing was born in his basement.

"I always get it all of the time, so I tell them, 'James Fr-on-co', not to get mixed up," he said.

Not the actor, the father and coach.

"What we have focused on here is about 8 years old to 20 years old," said Franco.

It's a true brothers in arms for 12-year-old twins David and Daniel Baltazar-Calderon.

"If we were in the same weight class they would make us fight each other," they said. "We spar each other but we don't actually box."

The nonprofit program puts the spotlight on at-risk boys and girls in the Portland area.

"There's a lot of kids that are here that, at home, there may not be a place that they want to be at for one reason or another," said Franco. "They know that they can come here to the gym and it's a place that we are really going to push them and we are really going to be on them, but they know that we are doing it because we care for them."

They’re fighting for a better future.

"Discipline … I used to have anger problems. When I got mad at someone or someone was messing with me, I resolved to fighting or something but now when I got here, you don't have to resort with fighting," said Ja'mari Etherly.

Gustavo Garcia said, "Now I go to school and I know how to defend myself and people respect me just because I box and they see me as a leader."

Gloving up and more than doubling up from the original six to about 20 regulars that call north Portland's Moore Street Salvation Army, a home away from home three to five nights a week.

"It's all just positive and that's what we are here for to be a positive in the community," said Leveryll Wilson, Moore Street Salvation Army program coordinator.

Earlier this month, six Rip City boxers advanced to the National Silver Gloves Tournament in Independence, Missouri.

"When I was in the ring, it was unexplainable," said Garcia. "From my feet, all of the energy just came up from my mind and my chest. My hands were moving so fast. Boom, boom! It's a big step in my life."

Friendship, freedom and a solid foundation – it's what this grassroots group is all about.

"There is a lot more to boxing that people don't see," said Franco. "There is a lot of self-growth, self confidence that comes out of it … There is a lot of life lessons that you will learn through the sport of boxing."

Despite the name, Rip City Boxing does not have a connection with the Trail Blazers.

You can help the kids gear up and get to various tournaments around the country, or if you'd like to inquire about joining the club, visit RipCityBoxing.com

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