WESTLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) — Paying the bills and paying employees are top priorities for most businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a local boxing gym finds itself sidelined from mentoring at-risk youth through sport.
The owner of Dynamic Boxing in Westland says he closed his doors in mid-March, nearly four months of not collecting any revenue. But he says he's determined not to let the pandemic knock him out.
"Covid has been our most formidable opponent for sure. It's the only thing that has shut us down," said Chuck Phillips, owner of Dynamic Boxing club.
Down but not out – Phillips says Dynamic Boxing club has been open consistently since first opening in 2005. But because of the pandemic, he says the only thing entering the ring these days is dust.
"It's been difficult. This really isn't a business for me personally," said Phillips. "We do need to keep the lights on and such but it's been more of a ministry."
The club is a ministry for all ages and mentorship for at-risk youth, teaching them discipline.
"It helped me stay level-headed and keep me on the right path," said Ja'rico O'Quinn.
O'Quinn says he started at Dynamic in 2009 at age 14, alongside his brother Rob. He's since won several national titles and most recently became WBO champion.
"He's turned into an outstanding young man. We're very proud of him, and we know that it's done that for several individuals," said Phillips.
"It really piggybacks outside of boxing," said O'Quinn. "It teaches them how to have structure as an adult."
Paul Soucy, who's rubbed shoulders with the greatest boxers, including Muhammad Ali, co-owns Dynamic. He says the closure is a safe move. But the final bell signaling the end of the shut down can't ring quick enough.
"I just can't wait to get started again," said Soucy. "Developing new talent, keep the kids off the streets, so they don't get in trouble."
Phillips says he's been able to maintain the club financially so far. But he says he hopes they'll be able to reopen in the fall.
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