LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Four heavyweight champions have called Louisville home, and the men behind one of the newest gyms in town, hope to someday increase that number.
"My ultimate goal is to get kids off the street, get them away from drugs, crime, get them away from gangs, just like Muhammad Ali, find them outlets.," James DIxon said. Dixon is the owner and founder for TKO Boxing.
The sits at 104 East Breckinridge Street, and it's more than boxing gym.
"It's like an outlet, I leave everything at the front door when I walk in here, this is my relief right here, this is where I let everything out. It's like more of a family than a gym," Trevis Burgos said.
Troy McLemore found out about the gym after getting in some trouble and landing in the Right Turn Program. "Usually after school I didn't have nothing to do, so I just sit in the house and since I found about the gym, then I got basically stuff to do now," McLemore said.
In about six months, 154 kids have signed up, 27 of them compete for Top Notch boxing, a traveling, competitive team. Dixon says three kids are among the top in country.
One of those three, is his 18 year-old son Carlos.
"It's a place where you can get discipline. It's a place where you can get in shape, and it's also a place that can help shape who you are and who you can become in future," Carlos said.
The gym works with organizations like Right Turn and the Jefferson County Youth Detention Center.
When these kids get here they work on their boxing, but to keep getting in the ring, they have to keep up in their school work as well.
Coach Dixon takes an interest in more than just their boxing. "We have a program here called no hooks before books, every kid that comes here has to get a 2.5 before they can travel and compete."
"Like I used to have like a 3.4, but I shot up to like a 3.8 because like I get more discipline and stuff," Ishiah McKessick said. He is a student at Butler High School.
There are computers on site, tutors and SAT prep are all in the works.
"Being in shape, physically, it makes you mentally stronger, so there's a lot of things in play. If you can come in here and step between these ropes and do this game, it's going to prepare you life, because if you can get up in here, you're going get up in life," James Dixon said.
And if the next Ali comes around, that wouldn't be all bad either.
Trevis Burgos would like to make the U.S. Olympic team and then hopes to turn professional. "To me that just means that my dreams are definitely reachable, it's hard to dream that big, but it just seems, it makes me feel like my dreams are reachable."