HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO                                Boxing coach Jesus Poem stands on Pound4Pound Boxing Gym’s new ring as it’s being built.

HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO Boxing coach Jesus Poem stands on Pound4Pound Boxing Gym’s new ring as it’s being built.

Port Hardy boxing gym gets new ring

“It’s a boxing gym now, whether people like it or not.”

Boxing coach Jesus Poem’s dream of having a boxing gym on the North Island has officially been realized.

With the help of community members and businesses, Pound4Pound Boxing Gym, which opened in November 2017, finally has a boxing ring.

“It’s a boxing gym now, whether people like it or not,” laughed Poem, adding, “I can have boxing fights here now and I can have cards in here now.”

Hardy Builder’s Supply, Tex Electric LTD, Orca Sand and Gravel, Dr. Howard Lee, and Cape Scott Wind Farm are a few of the businesses who helped out the boxing gym. Carpenter Jacob Jenson, who owns European Fine Furnishings, helped Poem build the platform.

“It was through word of mouth,” said Poem, noting he sent out 32 letters to local businesses, but that “It was the people that were in here that have good connections with corporations that gave the hand to help with this.”

Poem said although it’s been tough to make-ends-meet and get more people through the door, he’s now up 15-16 members and has three fighters who are interested in competing.

“The town and the Tri-Port have never had boxing fights up here and it’s going to be something to look forward to,” said Poem, adding, “I’m hoping to have three fights a year up here and the proceeds will go to the fights up here and the competitive team and travelling.”

Poem is finishing the final touches on the ring, which includes installing the canvas and ropes.

“I’m getting great reviews on Facebook, a lot of followers, and support from here to McNeill,” adding that with all of the support, it’s still tough to get a lot of people to check out the sport.

“A lot of parents think it’s violent,” explained Poem, adding that “With boxing comes a whole lot of discipline — it makes troubled kids and people that have mental challenges react quicker and focus better.”

Poem said he will host his first fight as a fundraiser, once he sorts out the logistics of getting officials to the North Island.

“I’m the only boxing gym from here to Campbell River — I’m like a lone ranger,” laughed Poem.

He said he hopes to eventually finish the floors with hardwood, and get some artwork on the walls.

“Hopefully I can get some kids in here to do some painting,” said Poem. “Whoever is a great artist come on up and I can give you a piece of wall to draw on.”

The Pound4Pound Boxing Gym located in the North Island Mall is open Monday to Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-6 p.m.

Contact Pound4Pound on their facebook page at www.facebook.com/p4pboxinggym.