Fight club manager awaits trial on abuse charges

Posted at 8:22 PM, Oct 01, 2015

Professional boxer China Smith knew he had to do something after hearing about the arrest of Akram Sleit. 


Detectives said Sleit inappropriately touched three students at Sarasota Fight Club while he was managing the facility.  Smith is from Sarasota and has a love for the sport of fighting/boxing.


"It teaches discipline respect, that kids need in life," said Smith.


This week Smith took over the club with mixed-martial arts coach Kevin Jakub.  The two coaches said they hope to erase the black eye caused by Sleit's arrest.


"We have nothing to do with that we are here to change that, we are hoping we are going to bring it around in a positive light, create more people to our family," said Jakub.


Jakub said the families that left the club after the arrest are now returning.  He said the club has an open door policy for parents.


"They are now coming back and they are training, their parents are coming in, so if that's happening we've already created something positive," said Jakub.


The club is no longer called the Sarasota Fight Club.  A sign reading "Chinatown" is hanging outside of the building this week.


"We are opening our doors to anyone that wants to learn and better themselves," said Smith.


Sleit is still awaiting his trial on the criminal charges.