Equity project gives Jackson Boxing Club new life

A monumental legacy and a passion for the future have come together in a small gym at 96 O’Neal St. as representatives from the Jackson Equity Project and Coach Obie Beard breathe new life into the Jackson Boxing Club.

As part of the Jackson Athletic League Initiative — a partnership formed under United Way of West Tennessee with the Jackson Police Department, the Jackson Madison County School System and the Madison County Juvenile Court — the boxing club will be stepping back into the ring to provide both a steady outlet of activity for children as well as a safe place to grow.

Jackson Boxing Club member Kaecilius Qadir teaches a young participant how to throw a punch.

“We’re just really exited to re-establish the Jackson Boxing Club,” said Matthew Marshal, president and CEO of United Way of West Tennessee, speaking over the slap of leather gloves on heavy bags. “Coach Rayford Collins is just a hero for so many in the Jackson community. We sorely miss him, but it’s exciting to keep his legacy going, and we’re so excited for Obie Beard, from the very famous Beard family here in Jackson, to be leading and coaching it, and continuing that legacy that Rayford started.”

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