Competing boxing club helps rival Wichita boxing gym after fire

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After Northside Boxing Academy went up in flames over the weekend, another Wichita boxing club has joined in to help rebuild the gym.

The fire erupted at the gym which is home to Olympian Nico Hernandez around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday causing about $75,000 worth of damages. A majority of its training equipment was a total loss.

Since Saturday, volunteers have cleaned up the interior of the gym and working to reopen soon.

“We think it’s very important that we get this thing back going for the kids and anybody who wants to join this environment,” said Northside Boxing Academy Manager Emiliano Hernandez.

The head coach of Villa Boxing, which is located in south Wichita, said he agrees with Hernandez. He added boxing is an outlet for many children in the Wichita community.

“You know it’s not about the gym name. It’s about the community and what we have got to do for the kids,” said Villa Boxing Head Coach Israel Villa. “We keep them off the streets, help provide a safe environment for them as much as possible as we can.”

Instead of battling it out with cross town rival Northside Boxing, Villa and Significant Other, a Wichita car club, have joined forces to help Northside reopen.

“A lot of our members have a lot of north-end ties. It’s our way of giving back to the community,” said Significant Other Car Club member Patrick Benware.

“I know he would do the same thing for me,” Villa said.

The two groups are hosting a community car show and cookout on Sunday. All funds raised at the event will go directly to Northside Boxing.

“They are going to need some gloves, punch mitts, head gears, you know, probably, hopefully some bags, jump ropes. We need to get them back on track,” Villa said.

Nico Hernandez will be at the event. A pair of his boxing gloves will be up for auction. There will also be food, face painting and a car show.

The event is on Sunday, November 13 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Evergreen Park.