Enrique Mayoral, one of the trainers at Orgullo's Boxing Gym in East Oakland, trains with one of his young fighters.
No other gym in the city of Oakland has been more synonymous with the sport of boxing quite like King's Boxing Gym - located at 843 35th Ave. in the Fruitvale district.
For nearly three decades, King's has been like a second home to many amateur and professional young fighters living in the Bay Area; including current undefeated Super Middleweight Champion and Oakland's own Andre Ward, who started training at King's Gym when he was only 10 years old. Today, Ward is preparing for his Sept. 8 HBO bout against light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Although King's comes with high recommendations, it is only one of several boxing facilities that call Oakland home.
Orgullo Boxing Gym
East Oakland's Orgullo Boxing Gym now has a new home. This boxing gym is registered with U.S.A. Boxing and first opened in 2010. It is headed by long-time Oakland resident and head trainer Enrique Mayoral, along with his cousin Louis Galvan, who helps manage the gym.
For a little more than a year, Mayoral and Galvan trained, taught and mentored fighters at their gym, which at that time was located on 81st Avenue. However, in January, the two men were forced to relocate their facility to 8500 Blaine St. in deep East Oakland - after the owner of the building where they were located sold the space.
"We've been involved in this sport forever," Galvan said. "It was time to move on. The move has worked out for the best. At this location, we get a lot more people and this whole situation was a blessing in disguise."
For Mayoral, the reason why he decided to keep the Orgullo Boxing Gym in East Oakland was simple: to help out kids who live nearby.
"By having our gym here, we are trying to help out the neighborhood," he said. "I mean you have King's Gym over on 35th and you have the other one on 98th, so we just wanted to stay in the middle and serve all of East Oakland."
Orgullo is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. It currently has three trainers and serves both boys and girls ages 10 and above.
"I love this sport," Galvan said. "If I wasn't as old as I am, I would be out there fighting just for the love of the sport."
Mayoral first got into boxing when he was 13 years old and used to train at King's Gym. According to Galvan, when Mayoral decided to leave King's Gym and asked him for help in starting and running a boxing gym, Galvan was more than happy to do the job.
"I was all for it," Galvan said of Orgullo, which means "pride" in Spanish. "We take pride in our gym, trainers and fighters ... we take pride in the sport period."
Galvan added that what makes Orgullo Boxing Gym unique is the fact that it is the only gym in Oakland that is Latino owned.
"We get a lot of people here who don't have a lot of money and who's first language is Spanish," he said. "Another thing that makes us unique is that we like to make everyone feel like they are a part of a family. We want them to be a part of the Orgullo boxing family."
In the future, Mayoral and Galvan plan to expand their services and open up another gym in Oakland. They said they also hope to help some of their fighters turn pro by the end of this year.
"This business is like a revolving door," Galvan said. "People come and go. People assume that boxing is easy, but a lot of people find out pretty early that this is a tough sport."
For more information on membership fees, visit orgulloboxing.webs.com or call Louis at (925) 234-6460 or Enrique at (510) 282-8042.
Phight Club is a boxing training program that was created by Gilbert "Hurricane" Jackson in 2003. Jackson is a boxing trainer and coach who incorporates the sweet science of movement and time with a mix of martial arts, Kung-Fu and other training methods.
"In 1995, I fought and trained at King's Gym in Oakland," Jackson said. "I was born in Ghana, but began boxing in England and what I loved about Oakland when I arrived was the weather, the lovely people and the whole boxing scene that was going on at that time."
When Jackson's professional boxing career came to an end in 2004, he decided to turn his attention towards training fighters all throughout the Bay Area. At first, finding a permanent location to do this was difficult for Jackson.
"The main thing I realized was getting my own space," he said. "I've been very blessed with Phight Club. I've been able to take it everywhere in the Bay Area."
Jackson began teaching his students at several different Bally's gyms. From there, he went on to train at King's Gym, before now finally settling in over at Orgullo Boxing Gym.
"I like to go to different places and teach things that I have learned over the years," Jackson said. "Right now I am at Orgullo's. Maybe the next place will be my own gym."
For Jackson, who trains both boys and girls ages 8 and above, the current state of boxing is not the same as it was 10 years ago.
"That's a bloody lie," Jackson said in regards to the notion that boxing is dead. "There is still life in boxing; it just needs someone to wake it up. It is still relevant. On the other hand, MMA is dying."
For more information on Phight Club and Jackson's fees, visit oaklandboxingtraining.com.
East Oakland Boxing Association
Last month, one of East Oakland's historic boxing gyms suffered a devastating blow. Founded in 1987 by Stanley Garcia, a former professional boxer and long-time Oakland resident, the East Oakland Boxing Association was burglarized and lost much of its boxing equipment, as well as electronic equipment.
Since then, the organization has received both monetary and equipment donations from the community and held a music show fundraiser at Yoshi's Jazz Club on June 12.
"We are doing pretty well," Sarah Chavez, the associate executive director for the East Oakland Boxing Association, said. "Bay Alarms donated an alarm system and we've received phones, computers, boxing gloves and televisions. We also raised $6,000 at Yoshi's."
Despite being robbed, the facility located at 816 98th Ave. in East Oakland, was able to have its free, eight-week summer program for kids this year.
"The summer program started on June 25," Chavez said. "We usually have a limit of 100 kids; but we got so many requests that we decided to increase it to 130. Kids do academic and physical activities daily."
This free program caters to two different age groups: The SmartMoves program is intended for children between the ages of 5-13 and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, while other supplemental programs are offered to teenagers and young adults.
"We got a bunch of passionate teens," Dan Robinson, the physical education coordinator at the East Oakland Boxing Association, said. "Among many things, they play indoor and outdoor games and learn about nutrition and health education."
Robinson also said that for the first time, the East Oakland Boxing Association is planning to start offering adult boxing classes.
"We have three trainers," he said. "Fees are currently being decided on. We plan to have the classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m."
For more information on the East Oakland Boxing Association's SmartMoves program, visit eoba.org.