Fresno PAL boxing gym set to return after 3 years

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer reminisced on how the gym has served the neighborhood in the past, with nearly 50 students taking part in the boxing program before the fire.

CalViva Health and The Fresno City Council contributed with knock-out donations, totaling $35,000 to help make the Romain Community Center Complete once again.

"This is a highly-used facility for our youth to have something positive to come to, and the neighborhood that you see around us is a little bit tough," says Luis Chavez with Fresno City Council. "I know that because in the 80's, my family and I lived by the Belmont and Fresno area."

City members credited a lot of the gym's success to retired narcotics officer Pete Santellano and community volunteer Rita Ramirez, who started developing a strong PAL Boxing Program back in 2008.

"We run a real disciplined program," Pete said. "Never have had a fight in the gym expect for the ring, no arguments. We have had every kind of gang member, but we also kept these kids from 8-18."

The partnership created great success with 14 U.S national boxing titles, proving the gym to be a local treasure.

"Kids that participate from these neighborhoods in our PAL boxing program are far less likely to end up in any type of criminal activity, they do better in school," Dyer said.

Sign-ups and start dates for the PAL boxing program have yet to be announced, but officials say the gym will be used this summer!
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