NewsHillsborough County


Anti-gun violence boxing league to offer job placement

Anti violence
Posted at 7:13 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-27 08:24:33-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — The Neighborhood Boxing League (NBL) in Tampa operates on this simple motto.

"Guns down, gloves up," said league co-owner Sheik Luis.

It's a sentiment that's attached to a pretty big goal.

"A lot of people have been getting killed, shot. Like a majority of everybody's first choice of anything is a gun," said league co-owner Juda Hicks.

And so far, they say they've gotten dozens of people from across greater Tampa Bay to take out their aggression in the ring.

"Boxing. It teaches you to slow down. It teaches you a different way to react to things because once you learn it you're like 'I don't want to do that to you, let's try something different,'" said league member Jeremy Judkins.

It's a discipline that some are hoping turns into a career.

"I've been boxing since I was three years old and my goal is to be the best boxer in the world," said 11-year-old league boxer, George Streets Jr.

But for the athletes who may not go pro, the league is now working to provide them with other opportunities.

"And we're offering them trades. Electricians, plumbing, HVAC, steelwork, and many others," said Luis.

It's part of a new jobs program that will be done in partnership with the Urban League of Hillsborough county.

"We match them up with companies that are willing to enter them into a pre-apprentice program and if they get through the pre-apprenticeship program, then they will bring them into their apprentice program and be on their way to a journeyman's status which takes over two years," said Urban League Interim President Stanley Gray.

They're higher-paying, longer-lasting opportunities that the league's owners say can break cycles of poverty and violence and change lives.

"People need money, jobs, work. We already helping them put the guns down, so now we can help you get a job?" said Hicks.

If you have questions about the job program, you can contact NBL or email the Urban League of Hillsborough County at:

The neighborhood boxing league is also holding a big boxing match on Saturday, November 27, where they will be facing off against fighters in Orlando.