Phoenix boxing gym helps underprivileged kids train for free

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Phoenix gym is helping knock out childhood poverty, giving underprivileged kids a chance to train in a real boxing gym.

But they need help getting at-risk youth off the streets and into the ring.

"I’ve been coming here since I was 12," said Alexis Ortega, who trains at Hard Knocks Gym.

For many like him, the passion is there, but the funds to pay for training are not.

Hard Knocks co-owner Suzanne Ortega says some of their kids face tough obstacles. “One of our kids' father was deported," she said. 

But once the gloves are on, none of that matters. It’s just the kids and the ring.

For the last few years, Suzanne and her husband Arturo have been taking in kids like Alexis and paying for their training out of their own pockets.

"Thousands, thousands of dollars," she said. “Equipment. They need headgear, they need gloves."

But the need was more than they could handle alone, so last month they formed a brand new non-profit called ‘Hard Knocks Athletic Program.’ Now that they have their 501(c)(3) they're hoping to take in even more kids in need.

"I have friends that are on the street, spend their time out there all day, and I'd rather be here than doing drugs or drinking out there’” said Alexis. “I’d rather come here."

The Ortegas say sponsors and donations would greatly help their cause. 

They say you can mail your donation by check payable to: Hard Knocks Athletic Program P.O. Box 83712 Phoenix, AZ 85071

Pay by phone with Credit/Debit Card: Office (602) 944-4791

Direct Deposit into Wells Fargo Bank Account: Account Number 3121717379

Drop off Payment: Hard Knocks Gym 11042 N. 24th Avenue, Suite 105 Phoenix, AZ 85029

Hours: Monday-Friday 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Call for Pick Up: (602) 944-4791

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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