PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA)-- When Gabriel Dortch started Prichard Boxing Academy 15 years ago he knew he wanted to make an impact, not just in the sport, but as an activist.

"We stand with people. We fight for the people. We fight for change."

He says it's the Muhammad Ali spirit, fighting for change outside of the ring, something he tries to instill in his students.

Dortch has always stood for boxing as a way for kids to channel negative energy and aggression, instead of turning to guns and other violence, through his campaign, "Gloves not Guns."

He says the recent shooting at Ladd-Peebles Stadium pushed him to go even further, writing a letter to the school board, proposing they implement combat sports in local schools. 

"Mobile county we're more reactive. And usually when you're reactive it's already done. so let's put something in place to try to combat it.”

Dortch has taught hundreds of kids over the years.

He says his program has seen much success in turning youth around. 

Jacob Fontenot is one of his students. 

Fontenot says in just two years boxing has molded who he is today.

"Whenever I'm outside of the gym i feel a lot better and I never really feel angry or stressed out. I always feel very good about myself and it really does help deal with day to day problems."

Dortch says reality is bullets aren't going anywhere and it's something that needs to be faced.

"I think that we just need to take another approach and be more proactive and do something different. you can't get a different result doing the same thing."

As Dortch waits to hear back from the school board, he says the school system can only do so much, as the culture adopted in families ultimately trickles down to the children.

 

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.