MATEWAN – Many believe that the sport of boxing is becoming a lost art. But if Rick Jackson of Matewan has his way, that will change, at least in the Tug Valley area.
Jackson has taken over the Old School Boxing club in Matewan.
Jackson, a former regional Champion of Champions Golden Gloves boxer here in the Tug Valley area back in the mid-1980s, is taking over the training for Tommy Copley and Floyd Mahon.
The boxers are using the gym and facilities located in the old Matewan High School (MHS) complex.
“I want to help some of these kids stay off the streets and hopefully this will be a positive influence for them,” Jackson said. He said with the drug problem in the region, it helps to keep teenagers busy and give them something to do.
The training by Jackson is free by the former pugilist, however the gym costs are $30 per month. That helps pay for cleaning and equipment.
Jackson said he hopes to get some bouts for the local fighters much like the old Golden Gloves in years past that was held in Delbarton and Williamson. He expects the club to fight under USA Boxing, which is an amateur organization much like Golden Gloves.
Albert Belcher is assisting Jackson with having fighters participate in some of those tournaments.
Currently Jackson has six boxers under his guidance.
“This is great for the kids and teaches them discipline and self-defense,” added Jackson.
“There is not a lot for kids to do in this area,” Jackson said, “especially this time of year — if they don’t play basketball.”
Jackson assists Coach Yogi Kinder with the Mingo Central football team and hopes he can get a few of those players to participate. He said there is a weight room available at the old MHS complex. They also have the basketball gym area available to do road work, if there is inclement weather on the outside.
“This is a good physical activity for anyone,” Jackson said. “I hope we can get more kids to come out and that this boxing club will grow.”
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)