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Boxing champ helps keep kids in the ring, off Chicago streets

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Golden Glove champ Luis Mateo is fighting against crime by sharing his boxing skills with Chicago's youth. (WLS)

A CTA worker by day and fighter by night, one Plainfield man makes the drive to West Town four times a week to turn his passion into positivity.

Golden Glove champ Luis Mateo is fighting against crime by sharing his boxing skills with Chicago's youth.

"I was born here. I've been almost all around the world and Chicago is the most beautiful city all around the world for me," Mateo said.

Mateo spends his evenings in the ring at Oakley Boxing Gym, teaching kids the skills he learned at a very young age.

"That was the best thing to ever happen to me in my life. The park district - at that moment - they had programs at every park that helps the kids," he said.

Those boxing programs helped him learn the skills that got him several boxing titles and inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame. But for him, it's not about the awards but the future of Chicago's children.

"I want to get the kids out of the street that's my point right now. There's so much crime," Mateo said. "I have a couple of other students that right now they been to jail so many times, then finally I talk to them about what is it going to be. I'm pushing them and pushing them so they've changed their lives around."

For amateur boxer Deion Kidd, Luis has been the driving force to helping him achieve his dream of becoming a professional fighter.

"Luis has had an amazing impact on my life. I used be in the street a lot and he just basically help me to realize that my life is more than just hanging out in the streets," Kidd said. "He noticed a talent in me that nobody else noticed. When I felt that from him I knew that I had something. That I was gifted."

It is young men like Deion that makes all his volunteer time worthwhile.

"I love it and I'm not going to ever stop," Mateo said.

Luis is a part of the American Boxing Organization. The group has a program called ABO Cares that focuses on helping at risk youth. They're having a special fundraiser in March in order to help more kids.

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