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'Punching for Peace' boxing event encourages kids to put down guns, pick up gloves

Posted at 12:07 AM, Aug 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-18 10:22:57-04

CINCINNATI — Hundreds gathered at Sawyer Point Friday night, kicking off the 31st annual Black Family Reunion with an oxymoronic event: Punching for Peace.

Promoter Andrew Williams said the youth boxing series, which features competitors aged 8-24, is meant to make children contenders in life by giving them a new method of conflict resolution.

“There’s not a lot of outlets for our kids,” said Williams, president of the Oasis City Boxing Club. “Boxing is something that you can come and get involved in. … These kids can come and enjoy a sport and learn a little discipline, nutrition — there’s a lot of pieces to boxing that they can equate and use in their lives.”

Garrison Wallace, whose son boxed Friday, said he was glad to see the community-building event at the tail end of a summer punctuated by shootings, at least 27 of them fatal.

“We’ve got so much violence going on in the neighborhoods and the city right now,” he said. “Bringing everybody together for something is very important in the neighborhood.”

“It’s enough negativity around the city,” fellow parent Brandon Clemons added. “It’s nice to see them doing something nice.”

The Black Family Reunion, a slate of events celebrating black communities and families, continues Saturday and Sunday throughout Cincinnati.