How Boxing is Giving Chicago’s Youth a Fighting Chance


(dramatic music and sirens) – Boxin’, to me, is like
a way of motivation, of gettin’ out the hood. Bein’ a kid growin’ up in Chicago, you see a lot of drug dealin’,
gang-banging shootouts. But, we’re in the city showin’ kids, like, this isn’t just a bubble, and this is how everything gives in life. (bell dings) You gotta have a belief in yourself that you can see mo’ than this;
you can be better than this. (two thuds) – [Narrator] This Great Big
Story is made possible by “The Chi” on Showtime. (ambient street sounds) (punching bag being hit) – Bend your knees a little bit, power. Remember to use your waist. OK? One, two. Nice. Right. Nice, remember to turn on that foot. Right. Good. Jab. (serious instrumental music) Jab. Better. Jab. My name is Sally Hazelgrove, and I am the founder and
executive director of Restoring the Path: Crushers Club. Jab. In 2000, I was livin’ in Chicago, and I started studying gangs
and interviewing gang members, and I asked them in 2004, “What’s something that would
get you off the block?” And, “boxing” was their number one answer. From hearing their stories I
started to formulate a vision. In March of 2013, I opened Crushers Club. Crushers Club is a place where youth come as an alternative to gangs, and as a way to terminate
off of juvenile probation. – Take your time. It took me a month. It took me like two weeks
to a month to get this. You learned in one day. Good. Keep it high. – [Sally] Since opening our doors, we’ve seen over 500 youth. They can let down their guard. They can be young men. They can empathize with eachother. They can be funny. I tell all of them, “It’s your
job to save all the children. I’m here to empower you,
and for you to lead.” Because they are the change makers. – [Male Coach] Take a turn. Good. Good. (somber instrumental music and sirens) – I didn’t have no easy
experience bein’ in Chicago. When I was 6, I seen my daddy get shot right in front of me. I had so little close friends to me, and friends just in general
that just gettin’ killed off gun violence. After while, like for me,
death just became normal. I started comin’ to Crushers
Club when I was 9 years old. Ever since then, I just been boxin’. I have to look at the bigger picture, instead of just seein’ the
streets and bein’ enticed by it, what you see everyday. ‘Cause honestly drug dealers,
boosters, people sellin’ weed, people sellin’ crack, all that stuff, it entice you do that, to
be that type of person. But I know I’m bigger than the street. The boxin’ ring was like almost
my guidance and my therapy. Anytime I had an issue,
anytime I had a problem, anytime I felt some type of way, as soon as I stepped foot in Crushers Club I felt like I was on top. (somber instrumental music) – I ain’t know what that was. – I want four ya’ll run this
way, four ya’ll run that way. – I’m runnin’ this way. – [Sally] We’ve had a lot
of success at Crushers Club. I’ve seen young men that
were on the street, shooting, now come to me and say, “I no longer gang bang,
and I’ve put down my gun.” These are not hardened criminals, and we’re gonna fight for them pretty much til our dying breath. – [Christopher] You look
at all these pictures of all these kids, you not
just thinking about yourself you thinkin’ about the kids. You is a kid, you can
still have a kid life, you can still do the basic things that any other kid at any other city wanna do. You feel that family
environment, that family vibe when you in here. I know what I’m doin’, I wouldn’t be the same person if it wasn’t for Crushers
Club or for boxin’. I feel like this ain’t even
like my real beginnin’, ’cause I got way more to go. This just like, tip of the iceberg. (two thuds)

67 thoughts on “How Boxing is Giving Chicago’s Youth a Fighting Chance

  1. A white women saving the hoods of Chicago!? What a plot twist XD I hope there’s more programs to help them out, black people need to change and get out of the violent cycle.

  2. Rocky inspired Philadelphia and now boxing inspires Chicago. It’s the sport of change and inspiration

  3. This is all boxing gyms, literally every gym I’ve heard of are there to train champs and get kids off the streets. Another beauty of boxing

  4. "They can let their guard down!"
    P R O T E C T Y O U R S E L F A T A L L T I M E S

    In all seriousness, it's a harsh reality having to fight for money in the current economic landscape, but I do think it's beautiful that boxing at least gives this disenfranchised youths a chance. Escaping the cycle of violence and poverty can be hard, so it's admirable to see those willing to work hard and the people trying help make it happen.

    Amazing job again, GBS.

    PS.: That Christopher kid's a poet.

  5. It teaches someone to smash the problem with his fists, instead of working it out and solving it with his brain.

  6. This was pure gold. Seeing people overcoming this kind of hardship and issues is just heartwarmingly beautiful. Thank you❤. We want to see more content like this.

  7. I always tell people this is part if why I love boxing. It's a uplifter, especially in rough neighborhoods. Kids who would've been nothing and ended up in jail or dead become world champions and go forward doing positive things. I'm happy for these young men and everyone else who takes up boxing to help them.

  8. Replace gun violence with legal violence.and this isnt the only way to "git out tha hood".knowing blacks they will just use this for underground fight club 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂.this OWL prob gets off on it.

  9. GOD BLESS THE FOUNDER & THE TRAINERS FOR BEING A POSITIVE INFLUENCE & MOTIVATION FOR THE YOUTH WOULD LIKE ONE DAY TO KNOW A WORLD CHAMPION CAME OUT OF CRUSHER CLUB BRAVO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK 👊👏👏👏

  10. I have always been against boxing.
    Two men standing in a ring beating each other to a pulp and this is supposed to be good in some fashion! And we want to teach children that beating each other up is the way we're going to get better!
    It's just really sickening that black people get no other opportunities than this kind of shit! I am a white person and I feel very bad about what other white people have done to the black people! It's wrong on so many levels.
    And it's wrong even on more levels when this is the only outlet that they have to get better! I am so goddamn sick of my country.
    I do need to make a statement that I do believe in the martial arts just not boxing! And it is a good thing to teach children to defend themselves. But to use it as a sport is just wrong!

  11. I had no idea Chicago has these kind of municipality…sorry I'm Non American. Clearly not shown on MSM …. thanks GreatBigStory!!

  12. Art, music, skills are the way to improve. Don't train people to be violent and solve their problems with fists.

  13. Don’t let the white man convince you to be there entertainment ….educate yourself make them be your entertainment

  14. I think what they do is great but why didn’t I see any woman i the club BC woman also need to defend their selfs

  15. just wait until a butt-hurt egomaniac loses a fight and comes back with a Gun. That's how it is in Chicago

  16. I was in an exchange program that visited Crushers Club in Chicago! They were very Friendly but also inspiring.Hearing their stories really made me have a different view on violence and how impactful boxing can be.LOVE Crushers Club!

  17. Thank you Sensei Hazlegrowth, when you said it is your job to save the children I teared up " Much respect you amazing human.

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