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Austinites use boxing to teach discipline to youths

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Boxing is a way for many at-risk children and teenagers to focus their aggression into more positive activities.

"Boxing taught me a lot about discipline, and nowadays, I think, with all the gangs, there's drugs involved," says Moses Saldaña, Jr., a close friend of A.B. Cantu, the founder of the Pan American Boxing Club. "I think that if these kids come and train and follow the instructions to the letter, they'll avoid a lot of those pitfalls in their lives."

At another gym in Northeast Austin, champion boxer Ann Wolfe teaches youths to triumph over adversity the same way she did. Boxing, Wolfe says, helped her overcome homelessness, the deaths of her parents and brother, and other problems.

"This is saving lives," says Wolfe. "And another thing it's doing, you're dealing with a whole bunch of aggressive children. I'm saving a lot of people from being murdered. I'm taking a lot of drugs off of the street. I'm taking a lot of drug dealers off of the street. I'm taking a lot of drug addicts off of the street. That's what we do over here. We take the nobodies and make them somebody."

Parents of attendees of Wolfe's gym notice changes in their children.

"I've seen improvement in my kids as far as grades-wise, homework-wise," says Varlerie Tookes, whose sons learn to box at Wolfe's gym. "They come home, they do their homework, because they know if they don't do it, they don't get to go to the gym to be with Ann and Pops."


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