Four Inland Empire Boxers Returned To San Bernardino Recently With Medals For Their Collections.
Representing Project Fighting Chance, a nonprofit group for area youth, “Terrible” Terry Washington and Ruffin “The Hammer” Harris won gold this month at the USA Boxing Nationals tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah. Teammates “Killa” Kenny Lobatoz and Isiah Harris took home silver, and Charles “LoLo” Harris advanced to a quarterfinal bout.
“I’ve been around the sport a long time,” said Ian Franklin, who founded Project Fighting Chance in 1999, “but I haven’t seen too much like this, where all these kids are from one gym.”
Boxer Terry Washington, 14 from San Bernardino, takes his one minute break in between sparring rounds as his coach and Project Fighting Chance CEO Ian Franklin looks on Thursday in San Bernardino July 12, 2018. Project Fighting Chance, run by Ian Franklin, a nonprofit for area youth, and its renowned F.I.G.H.T.S. program were the subjects of a documentary series by KVCRTV that’s scheduled to premiere in September. Cameras followed three boxers as they trained for and boxed in national tournaments. Currently, the San Bernardino program has five kids ranked nationally in their weight classes. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)
PHOTO BY FRANK PEREZ Rayshaun Thomas, 19, of San Bernardino, wraps his hands at Project Fighting Chance, which is a youth life skills program in San Bernardino.
Sometimes, all a kid needs is a fighting chance.
Especially if the child is growing up without basic necessities, living on the edge of hunger, hanging out in the streets after school.
Ian Franklin has been there, susceptible to the gang lifestyle in a low-income community.
But thanks to the birth of his son — and some timely intervention from God — Ian made an “about face” in life and set out on a new path.
“There’s no such thing as hopeless,” Ian told me. “People called me hopeless — that was other people’s perception. As long as you can get up in the morning, you have a chance to change.”
He finally had that desire to change, to become a positive part of his son’s development.
“This led me to develop a youth boxing program that has now become a major component of our programming,” said Ian, 52, CEO and president of Project Fighting Chance.
Ian and his fellow volunteer coaches, board members and parents are trying to navigate these kids through a war zone, he said.
“These kids are out there dodging bullets.”
San Bernardino Junior Olympic Boxers Bring ‘SB Strong’ To National Stage
Don’t say San Bernardino never gets positive headlines.
The city has a fighting chance for some positive press coming up in the last week of June.
Three young boxers will represent the city’s Project Fighting Chance program in the 2017 USA Boxing Junior Olympics in Charleston, West Virginia – and they’re taking the “San Bernardino Strong” message with them.