Boxing posters line the walls of the Silver Boy Boxing Club, but one painting in the corner suggests the sport is about more than throwing punches. In this corner, a man in boxing gloves and trunks stands with his head bowed; there is a caterpillar on one shoulder and a butterfly on the other. The words around this figure read, “In loving memory of Jean Cavanaugh.”
Silverio Garcia recently opened the Silver Boy Boxing Club, located at Eighth and Jefferson in Great Bend, as a positive activity for youths. The mural is dedicated to Cavanaugh (1924-2019), a philanthropist who inspired many of Great Bend’s youth, including Garcia, to become the best they could be.
“She was very important in my life,” Garcia said. “I’m pretty sure that she would be proud of what I’m doing.”
It took a while for Garcia to find the right path.
“I used to get in a lot of trouble in my high school days, fighting,” he said. Boxing also changed his life, and now he wants to help change the lives of area children by passing on what he’s learned.
“I’m doing this for the kids,” he said. “Gloves, not guns.”
Youth boxing enthusiasts say parents may notice several benefits after their kids start boxing. These include learning goal setting, focus, respect for authority and their peers, self-defense and confidence.
Marlon Cardona, a friend who helps at the club along with his wife Amy Jimenez, said they have seen some of the benefits first-hand since their two children started boxing. “It put some discipline in their life,” he said. “(Garcia) pushes everybody to do better.”
Garcia was already working with some children before the club opened about a month ago in a building on Eighth Street directly behind The Fieldhouse. “It all started in my garage.”
One of his trainees, 12-year-old bantamweight Rocky Montanez, has been in several matches and is now 8-0. He’ll be boxing at the Kansas Golden Glove State Boxing Championship (a USA Boxing event) on May 28-29 at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. The event is hosted by the Reno County Boxing Academy. Other Silver Boy Boxing Club members planning to attend are middleweights Matt Neiman, Ronnie Gararo and a female boxer, Tennessee Koett.
The club meets Monday through Friday. During the first four days of the week, the younger kids attend from 5-6:30 p.m. and older boxers are there from 6:30-8:30 p.m. On Fridays, they all get together starting at 5.
There are membership fees for the club and Garcia said all of the money is going for rent and equipment. Donations of cash, water, equipment, etc. are welcome. For more information about the club, call Garcia at 620-282-1836 or email Judy Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.