PINE BLUFF, Ark. — A Pine Bluff boxing gym that helps keep kids out of trouble wants to bring the first Pro Am boxing competition to Arkansas, but first needs to the funding to do so.
Gloves Not Guns started in 2000. Professional boxers like Donald Griffin got their start with the club and still come by to train. Griffin started at 13, he is now 27.
"I turned pro about four years ago and my current record is 7-1," Griffin said.
He said the program saved his life.
"My mom and my father brought me here because I was getting in a lot of trouble," Griffin said.
Gloves Not Guns has helped hundreds of kids in Pine Bluff like Griffin and it now needs help from the city.
"I'm a sergeant here with Pine Bluff Police Department as well, me dealing with a lot of kids on a daily basis. I ask them what's going on, they have nothing to do," Griffin said.
Albert Brewer is the director of Gloves Not Guns. He is asking the city for $25,000 to help with a Pro Am boxing competition in Pine Bluff on October 12 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The $25,000 will go towards paying the professional athletes, but Brewer said bringing them here will draw people to his event.
He said if it works out, this will be the first Pro Am (professional and amateur) competition in the state.
"The proceeds from that go to Gloves Not Guns. It's a win, win situation," Brewer said.
Brewer said those proceeds will go towards buying new equipment because a lot of it is old and falling apart.
"We work with what we got, and yet, these kids still fight at a top level with just what little bit we have," Brewer said.
Through the hard-work and sweat, Brewer hopes the city will step up for the kids.
"With the little support that we got, imagine what we can do with the support. They sky's the limit," Brewer said.
Brewer said the competition will still take place with the non-professional boxers, even without funding.
THV11 reached out to the Mayor's office Thursday evening and is waiting to hear back about plans on funding.