MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The City of Memphis recently created a youth boxing event, and it has taken off!
The proof was in the packed Pipkin Building at the fairgrounds Wednesday night.
Memphis leaders want to get young people off the street and in the ring.
Kids are signing up for it and training at five boxing centers around the city, and the community is loving it.
"About five years ago I had a disease called Guillain-Barré,” said Memphis boxer Jatin Brooks.
That disease left Jatin paralyzed for a year. Not only did he learn to walk again, he’s now an up-and-coming boxer in Memphis.
"I sit back and I pick my jabs, pick my shots,” Jatin said. “ I play chess, not checkers."
"It took a lot of patience and it took a lot of prayer,” said Jatin’s father James.
James was in his corner in the hospital and is now at every match.
"He actually taught me,” James said. “He showed me a new strength I never knew about never knew I possessed. I always knew he was special, you know."
Jatin is one of 16 boxers at Wednesday night’s Boxing at the Pipkin.
The City of Memphis Youth Services Office teamed with Memphis Boxing Group to create a young boxing club.
It was the idea of Special Assistant to the Mayor Ike Griffith.
"So I just really wanted to make sure we give our young people opportunity something positive when they’re not doing anything,” Griffith said.
"We're just trying to get young people involved and there's a growing boxing movement in Memphis!" said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
There was standing room only Wednesday night with an estimated 850 people in attendance.
The youngest boxers were just 11, and young ladies also duked it out in the ring.
As for Jatin, he’s now 4-0 and thinking big.
“I want to go professional!” Jatin said.
His proud pops has no doubt Jatin will K.O. any goal he has.
“I just love the young man he’s become and just to see where he’s coming from to where he is now that’s a blessing,” James said. “It really is. It’s a humbling experience.”