As many of us celebrate Easter with our family and close ones, I figured today would be a perfect day to release a story on a boxing gym located in Columbiana County that flies under the radar when it comes to the Mahoning Valley boxing scene.
Located in the beautiful and historic downtown Salem, Salem Boxing Club which recently moved to its current location opens its doors to many from different walks of life who have taken boxing up for a variety of reasons that have come together to create a family-like atmosphere.
Ron Jackson, who started Salem Boxing Club in the early 2000s at its previous location by Reilly Stadium is proud of the friendly and family like atmosphere he's developed in his gym.
"I have a good gym with good kids in here", said Jackson. "I love this and I love helping kids and I giving my time to them and helping them better the body that God gave them".
While Jackson glowed with excitement talking about what the kids mean to him and his gym, his fighters were quick to point out what his gym meant to them.
"It's a family environment and boxing is a physical and demanding sport with plenty of spiritual and emotional elements to it," said Sarah Gruber who is one of Jackon's active amateur fighters. "No matter what's going on in school or at home you come here and it becomes almost therapeutic".
Another one of Salem Boxing Club's active amateurs, Colton Schneider was also quick to sing the praises of what the gym means to him.
"It's like a family here", said Schneider. "Whenever I'm watching one of our fighters from the gym fight at a show it's like watching one of your brother's fight".
The family feel extends past the atmosphere as another one of Jackson's active amateurs, Izik Collins shares the gym with his father Josh Collins who is one of the coaches at the gym.
"I love the family atmosphere here but having my dad around just makes me work that much harder on me", said the younger Collins.
While everyone within the confines of the gym has their own reason for taking up boxing, one individual started coming because her friend came and now has found a second home.
"It's my safe place," said Katie Flickenger. "I can confide in anyone here and it makes me feel special if I've had a bad day just knowing I can come here and talk about anything".
While Flickinger, who's been coming to the gym since the fall, fell in love with the family atmosphere of the gym, she's now found a place for the sport of boxing in her heart.
"I love it all," she said when asked what her favorite part of training is
While everyone loves coming into the gym for its atmosphere, nobody loves showing up every day more than Jackson.
"You can't buy what I get from these kids," said Jackson. "I get a lot of blessings helping them out".