Boxing a top hobby for Little Village teens

October 12, 2011 4:04:11 PM PDT
In the Little Village neighborhood, boxing is helping teenagers build their confidence.

Chicago Youth Boxing Club (CYBC), an after-school program located in the Little Village neighborhood engages young men and women in the sport of amateur boxing.

"It is like a home away from home," said boxing student Laura Quintero, who has been boxing for a year and will be featured in this weekend's first statewide CYBC Power Gloves amateur boxing tournament.

"It has builds my self-confidence a lot," said Quintero. "Personally, I feel like it keeps me in shape, too."

"They come every day, we work them out, we tire them out, they go home, do their homework, go to sleep," said CYBC head coach Gabriel Navarro.

Huberto Alcala says the sport has helped him to prepare for life and to be more focused and disciplined.

"I haven't gotten in any trouble, not like many of my friends that are in the streets all day," said Alcala.

"The club is really a second family and safe haven for youth in Little Village," said CYBC President Karen May.

More than 120 young people participate in the program. They have won many awards and recognitions for their boxing.

CYBC has been selected as one of three worldwide finalists by Beyond Sport for the Sport for Environment award to be awarded in Cape Town, South Africa in December.

Beyond Sport, a London-based organization, nominated CYBC because of the funds they raised to build 35 cisterns to harvest rainwater in a Mexican village. The prize for the winner is $15,000.

"I think it makes everyone feel really good we are doing something positive not just for our community, but we're also thinking about other communities outside of ours," said Quintero.

"I think it is a great opportunity for fighters to represent our country," said Alcala.

Right now, they are concentrating on this two-day weekend amateur boxing tournament.

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