Boxing Club Offers Kids Alternative to Streets

  • Troy Isley and father Kevin Johnson worry about the future of the Alexandria Boxing Club (ABC) at Charles Houston Recreation Center in Alexandria, Virginia. In 2009, Kevin took Troy to  ABC to learn how to defend himself on the streets of Alexandria.  Six years later, with the guidance and support of ABC, Troy won the the 2014 Ringside World Championships in Kansas City and was also named Outstanding Male Boxer 154-176 lbs at the 2014 Junior Olympic National Championships. Troy now has his eyes on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
     
    The City of Alexandria has proposed decreasing the days and hours ABC can operate in the rec center.  The area around the center was once public housing but now is in being gentrified. The city would like to offer adult cardio-boxing classes in the evenings for the new residents leaving ABC's after school program for underprivileged kids, some of whom are now elite boxers training for the 2016 Olympics, without a full-time gym. The city suggested the boxers use the gym every other evening, an arrangement that would be less than ideal for elite athletes in training.
     
  • Fifteen-year-old Iesha Kenney says she was brought to the gym in 2009 by her mother so she wouldn't become a couch potato. Six years later, Iesha has earned the following titles: 2014 Junior and Youth Open Champion, 2013 Junior World Championships Bronze Medalist, 2013 Junior World Team Open Champion, 2013 Pirkka Tournament Champion, 2011 National PAL Champion and 2012 National PAL Champion. Iesha's next goal is to make the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
  • Kenney takes a break and leans on her coach, Kay Koroma.  The gym serves as a supportive family community to many of the kids there.  
  • Kay Koroma, assistant coach at Alexandria Boxing Club, runs the afterschool boxing program for children at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. The club's intention is to give city youth, particularly youth at risk, an after school alternative to being on the streets. Several of the youth have gone on to win world titles, have turned pro, or are Olympic hopefuls. Kay is considered to be one of the top boxing coaches in the United States.