Last summer Paul Kix wrote about the rise and fall of the Oak Cliff Boxing Club, which at one point had more than 100 young prospects, a handful of Olympic hopefuls and the financial backing of billionaire Todd Wagner. At the time, things were already heading south for the club: One of its top fighters had died of a gunshot to the head, and another, former national heavyweight champion Big Greg Corbin, had been arrested on federal drug charges. In the year since Kix's story, things have gotten worse.
With no more funding from the Todd Wagner Foundation, the club has been booted from a sprawling 15-acre athletic complex in Lancaster and is now operating out of a cinder-block feed store in Oak Cliff. Those few fighters who remain spar to the sounds of roosters scratching and crowing outside. Club founder Greg Hatley, a former boxer himself, is frustrated that no one has stepped up to help the club. "If we were up in Frisco or Plano you bet we'd have support," he says. "But I'm not going to leave Oak Cliff. This is my home."
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Spend a few minutes with Hatley, hear the stories of countless kids he's helped through boxing, and you'll be ready to pony up whatever spare change you've got to help his cause. What Hatley, who volunteers his time, needs most now is support, and here's your chance: This weekend the club is hosting the 8th Annual Black Gloves Tournament, which will bring in about 200 of the country's top amateurs to its former gym on 4543 N. Houston School Road in Lancaster. Fights actually began last night and take place through tomorrow, beginning each night at 7. Organizers say middleweight champ Jermaine Taylor and former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield, who's in town for an upcoming fight, may make appearances. If you remain unconvinced the trip to Lancaster is worth your time, re-read "The One That Got Away," if only so the Oak Cliff Boxing Club doesn't get away for good. --Jesse Hyde