Members of the Alton Community Unit Boxing Club. From left to right: Travis Willis, Trane Davis, Ju'coby Womack, Joshua Perkins and Landon Vegh.ALTON - The Alton Community Boxing Club celebrated another win, keeping their undefeated streak and highlighting the benefits of the club in the Riverbend community.

The club recently had their second fight, with 12-year-old boxer Ju’coby Womack knocking out his opponent in the first round. Coach Joshua Young noted that he is proud of his boxers, and he hopes to raise community support to purchase equipment and keep the club going so it can continue to empower the kids.

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“It’s just the beginning and if this is any indicator of what can occur, then we can really bring the entire city together. That really feels good,” Young said. “We’re definitely wanting the community’s support. We’ve just got such great things in our plan. It’s really becoming an awesome thing and how the community has started to come forward.”

Following a RiverBender.com story about the boxing club, a GoFundMe was started by Alton Middle School teacher Sadie Lupercio to help raise money for a boxing ring. Lupercio noted that she has seen her students’ confidence grow as a direct result of the boxing club, and she commended the mentorship of Young and the other coaches.

“I think Josh is such a great role model for these kids,” Lupercio said. “I’m just so excited that they have provided them a place where they can feel empowered and be their best selves and work to be better at something other than school.”

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Young said the support from people like Lupercio has been a “godsend.” He hopes to start a “virtual mall” with local businesses, several of which have already agreed to sponsor the club to help raise money for the boxing ring.

In the meantime, boxers of all ages have joined the club. Keith Gilchrese, Jr. and Keith Gilchrese, Sr. are the first father-son amateur boxers to fight on the same card. Trane Davis, 12, and 13-year-olds Landon Vegh and Travis Willis are scheduled to fight in January.

Young and Lupercio both noted that the boxing club is a great way for kids to learn how to handle their emotions. It has also provided mentorship and encouragement to the boxers as they improve their skills, empowering them to work harder. Young hopes the community will rally behind the club and provide the support they need to keep going.

“If I could run this seven days a week and have coaching staff and volunteers for seven days a week, those are seven days that we can provide a safe space. We can provide our harmonious environment and we can provide the mentorship,” Young said. “This is something that, if really supported and really given that city love, it could be something that would last lifetimes.”

To learn more about the Alton Community Boxing Club and their boxers, visit their official Facebook page. Check out the Alton Community Boxing Club GoFundMe to donate to the club.

“This could really be a community driver to bring people together, to empower people, to give our youth and young adults more options and to bring more revenue into the city,” Young added. “We really hope that this is the year to really bring great things for the city through the club.”

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