Non-profit to breathe life into former portland boxing gym

Group looks to turn old boxing gym to rec center

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It's a building that's seen better days.

“It was a boxing gym for several years. Muhammad Ali trained out of it,” said Paul Coffey, sensei.

It's that connection that Paul Coffey to give this rundown Portland building another shot.

“In a poor community boxing and fighting in general means a lot to these people because it's a way that they can fight their way out,” Coffey said.

Coffey and his non-profit organization to turn the building into a gym that offers free martial arts, music and art classes.

“The goal is to make sustainable individuals who are a part of society and to give them their voice back,” he said.

Coffey says he hopes the gym will teach more than a skill but give people confidence.

“They can get better jobs, further their education, maybe they can go out and change somebody's life,” Coffey said.

Like it did for Ali. Coffey hopes to be the champion for people who've been knocked down but not knocked out.

Coffey says the community has been supportive. Last weekend, Lowe's donated doors for the building. They also plan to have a fundraiser so they can hopefully open the gym by the spring.  

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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