The Black Rock Boxing Club in Red Deer is asking for the community’s help after their building was destroyed by a fire.
The not-for-profit club was operating out of Body Basics in Red Deer which was lending them gym space before it recently caught fire due to an electrical issue, leaving the boxing organization without a home.
Assistant coach Tyler Sundgaard said their equipment was also lost in the fire and they have been looking for a new place to rent but have not yet been successful.
On July 9 they will be holding a bottle drive in hopes to raise some funds for a new lease but are looking to raise money in any way possible.
“I’ve contacted a few golf courses in town so we’re trying to do some fundraising like washing golf clubs at golf tournaments and stuff like that,” he said.
For the bottle drive, there will be a trailer located at the Parkland Mall parking lot for the members of the public who need to dispose of their bottles.
The Black Rock Boxing Club was started a year ago by head coach Andrii Omelcheck and Sundgaard who both have experience in boxing and the club offers training to competitive boxers as well as kids and young adults who want to learn the sport.
After months of operating they had 30 people training at the club and four competitive boxers who they would help send to competitions across the province. They’ve also provided free memberships to low-income kids to allow them to still learn the art of boxing.
“As long as the kids are interested in training hard and competing then yeah we offer free classes for them as long as they follow all the rules and stuff like that,” he said.
Before they lost their space the $60 membership fees were used to pay for the lease and the owner of Body Basics gave them $300 for equipment, new boxing gloves for the boxers at Christmas, and paid for expenses taking their fighters to competitions away from Red Deer.
Since the fire, the head coach has been training the four competitive boxers in his garage and the other 30 boxers have been unable to participate. To make sure the boxers can still compete in tournaments, they’ve been paying out of pocket for travel and competition expenses as well as keeping their certifications up to date.
Some of the funds will be used to send one of their boxers named Misha to the Brampton Cup in Ontario this summer who has been training for the opportunity. He also won the silver gloves tournament as well as the YYC cup. Some other competitive boxers Alea and Alex competed in club cards and Alea went on to get second place in the golden gloves.
“We went to quite a few club cards and tournaments this year but obviously it’s harder to train out of a garage so right now kids are traveling to Edmonton and Calgary to do some sparring,” Sundgaard said.
They also had a few kids who came to Red Deer from Ukraine after the war started who took an interest in boxing. Luckily head coach Omelcheck is also a Ukrainian immigrant and it allows the children a place to meet some people and learn before the building was lost.
He said the club means a lot to the kids who participate in it. They’ve been closed for a few months now and he said when they see some of their participants out in public they get asked when are they going to open up again.
“It’s actually quite a huge part of their lives and their family’s lives as well because a lot has to go into it for competing in these tournaments because other clubs and coaches around Alberta it’s very competitive,” he said.
Those who would rather donate than contribute to the bottle drive can do so by contacting Sundgaard at 403-891-4015.