HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO                                Jesus Poem poses with a punching bag at the newly opened Pound4Pound Boxing gym at the North Island Mall on Trustee Road.

HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO Jesus Poem poses with a punching bag at the newly opened Pound4Pound Boxing gym at the North Island Mall on Trustee Road.

New boxing gym comes to Port Hardy

Pound4Pound Boxing gym opened in Trustee Mall

Jesus Poem moved to Port Hardy from Calgary one year ago and decided to turn a life-long passion into, not only a new business, but also a place to foster an interest in boxing on the North Island.

Pound4Pound Boxing Gym, located in the North Island mall on Trustee Road, is an authentic boxing gym where people can not only work out but receive one-on-one training and learn how to box.

“There’s already been a huge amount of interest,” said Poem, who opened the gym at the beginning of November. “It’s just getting the word out there and getting the support from the community.”

Poem had been boxing for 12 years, five of them professionally, before moving to Port Hardy. He noticed there wasn’t enough for kids to do here, so he thought he would start his own gym to help give kids and adults another sport to pursue.

“Port Hardy never had a real bona fide boxing gym and since I have connections around Canada and the United States for boxing camps, I thought it would be a great thing to have in Port Hardy,” said Poem.

He said the best way he can describe the boxing gym is “it’s somewhere you can go and be free for a little bit.”

Poem said boxing has had a huge impact on his life. “Before I was boxing, I was just like the rest of these kids around here. I got into a lot of bad stuff and hung out with the wrong crowd,” he said, adding, “I didn’t have the attention I wanted, no one believed in me, no one cared about me.”

Once he started boxing, everything changed. Before he knew it, he had “smartened up”.

He said he hopes his gym can have the same impact on someone else. “I think the town needs it because of the fact that it can get their kids to learn to harness their negative energy and put it towards something positive.”

He noted a boxing gym is special because of the relationship that is built between a boxing coach and a fighter.

“Say if I build a fighting team and they go down island or across Canada to fight, it’s only him in the ring and it’s me in the corner, so I’ve got to trust him and he’s got to trust me and his team has got to help him get ready for the fight,” explained Poem.

“As long as I could implement that in here and people come out, I think there will be better role models out there,” said Poem, noting boxing is the kind of sport that builds self-esteem and self-discipline.

Poem said he hopes interest in the gym continues to grow. “You never know, we could have fights here and have two-three boxing clubs from down island come up and it could be a huge event for this town,” he said, adding, “It’s a hockey town, which is great, but at the same time, why can’t it be a boxing town or a fighting town?”

The Pound4Pound Boxing Gym is open Monday to Friday from 4-9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 12-6 p.m.

The first drop in is free, and for more information, you can contact Pound4Pound on their facebook page at www.facebook.com/p4pboxinggym.