This gym is saving boxing and lives

From the outside, an old garage on Hull Street might not make anyone think twice about what happens inside. But for t...

Posted: Jan 6, 2018 1:44 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2018 1:44 PM

From the outside, an old garage on Hull Street might not make anyone think twice about what happens inside. But for the better part of the last decade, Omar Aleem has been using those unassuming surroundings to help change lives and create champions.

Aleem runs the 9th Dimension Sports Circle boxing gym, created after one of his sons wanted to learn to box. He now has two sons who have won championships, and understands when others come looking for a similar opportunity

"The parents come to me; Coach, my child needs this. I think he needs to be in the gym" Aleem said. "He has anger management problems. Can you help him? That's what I do."

"Boxing is a therapy. I'm trying to let the city see that, the nation see that."

Aleem teaches core values that not only help the athlete, but the person as a whole. Discipline, education, dedication and focus. Because a boxer who loses focus will have the same fate as a teenager with the same problem.

Ter'Ryan Rogers was just such a teenager. The Highland Park native has served jail time for robbery. He was running the streets, when by chance, someone changed his direction.

"One of the boxers that used to box here saw me running and said, Do you box? I'm like Nah. He brought me to the gym" Rogers said. "

The next day was history. Here I am, 2 years, 22 fights and on my way to the Olympic Trials."

"It's bigger than just boxing" Rogers continued. "It takes a lot of discipline to box which is what a lot of youth lack. If they can get tuned into boxing, not only can they become a better person inside the gym and inside the ring, but outside the ring and outside the gym."

Alongside Rogers is Damon Griggs who has been boxing since he was 8. For them, and many others, the gym has become a second home, someplace safe and welcoming regardless of their background or their history

"Some days I come here mad. Some days I come in happy" Griggs explained. "But when it's all said and done, when I train, I feel better. It's a relief."

"I don't go out to parties or that stuff because boxing is in the back of my mind. You can't do certain stuff when you box. You've gotta dedicate yourself to boxing."

Aleem and his wife do their best to provide the boxers with all the tools and equipment they need. There is a membership fee but Aleem can't bring himself to turn anyone away because they can't pay. It has put a drain on the family finances and their ability to continue their mission.

There is a GoFundMe account set up to help the gym with their expenses.

"These kids help me" Aleem said. "We survive. I can't turn them back even if they don't have the money. I try to work with them."

"Coach is doing it on his own" Griggs added. "He doesn't have anyone backing him up. He's paying the bills. They are doing what they can do to keep us training."

"I feel like he believes in me more than I believe in myself. He looks at you and sees what you could become."

"It doesn't have to be fighting or guns or gangs"Rogers said. "Boxing saved me, so I know it can do it for a lot of other kids."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 490011

Reported Deaths: 6618
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Hennepin1016821593
Ramsey43388811
Dakota36714394
Anoka33545392
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Scott13445107
Wright12635116
Olmsted1187890
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Crow Wing523682
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Benton451890
Winona419749
Mower411931
Douglas395068
Goodhue390169
Nobles387347
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McLeod341950
Beltrami339151
Morrison328147
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Becker315143
Lyon314045
Isanti310056
Steele304311
Carlton300649
Freeborn287124
Pine283616
Nicollet263341
Todd250330
Brown249137
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Meeker208534
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Wilkin67711
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Norman4808
Unassigned45368
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Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 337836

Reported Deaths: 5500
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52116562
Linn19519317
Scott17180213
Black Hawk14973294
Woodbury13858214
Johnson1317875
Dubuque12452196
Dallas1023593
Pottawattamie9899146
Story965445
Warren515176
Clinton502884
Cerro Gordo501483
Webster495888
Sioux480469
Marshall465473
Des Moines428661
Muscatine426493
Buena Vista413337
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Jasper388167
Plymouth369178
Lee354653
Marion341772
Jones285355
Henry279837
Bremer270655
Carroll266848
Crawford253435
Boone244830
Benton241554
Washington239247
Mahaska215846
Jackson210339
Dickinson204340
Tama203165
Kossuth198655
Delaware186340
Clay184525
Winneshiek183729
Fayette179535
Page178119
Buchanan178029
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172923
Hardin170339
Harrison167870
Clayton160154
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146336
Lyon145741
Allamakee144948
Madison143318
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132530
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129711
Cass129751
Jefferson128534
Appanoose123447
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115440
Humboldt113925
Franklin109719
Guthrie109728
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9790
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Clarke95220
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida82132
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Osceola68315
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