Lexington Legends Boxing: Fighting youth gun violence one glove at a time

Posted at 6:15 PM, Apr 05, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After another shooting in Lexington Monday night, a local boxing gym is making a renewed call to get young people off the streets.

For William "Sarge" Farris, founder of Lexington Legends Boxing, the sport can also be a path to put a dent in the city's gun violence.

"A lot of our youth are often pressured- peer pressured into making unsound decisions," said Sarge. "Boxing is a different type of sport where they can make sound decisions under pressure. They don't feel like they have to do anything."

It's a message of self-control that Sarge tries to instill in his students, challenging his students to put their gloves up and the guns down.

Of the 31 shootings so far in 2022, 12 of the victims were 21 years old or younger. Of the eight homicides, two young people are now dead.

"It grieves me, and it hurts to see to see that this continues and as I said before I can't stand by and allow this to continue without you doing something," said Sarge.

He's trained national champions, Olympic hopefuls, and Olympians but he says fighting violence would be his biggest mission because of the lives he's seen gloves save.

"When they first come into the gym I know immediately that they're here for a reason," said Sarge.

Whether that reason is anger issues, lack of confidence, bullying, or even a pushy parent, Sarge knows he has a role to fulfill.

Multiple times a year he hosts "gloves up guns down" boxing invitationals. This year he's inviting the whole city to not only come and support but to put down their guns for a one-day cease-fire.

Jim Thurman, the State Chairman of the National Association for Black Veterans shared how this is an opportunity to channel energy into something productive while giving back to the community.

"Being a veteran of the Vietnam era. I've seen a lot of violence over the years- a lot of our young people get caught up in it because frankly, there were no other avenues for them to channel that energy," said Thurman.

Thurman is one of the event sponsors as well.

Sarge is hoping to create legends not only in the gym but out in the community.

"I can't stand by and allow this to continue without doing something," he said.

Something he says he never plans to stop.

"There's no retiring. I can retire when I'm dead, and I'll probably do this until I die," said Sarge.