Bend Boxing Club is raising money on GoFundMe to rezone space and save the club

(Update: Added video and comments from Founder and Coach)

The owner asks for your help to stay at this place

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Bend Boxing Club is looking to stay in its current location, which its founder says is essential for the future of the community and central Oregon’s only public boxing gym.

The boxing club says it needs to raise $8,000 to cover the cost of a city rezoning permit, as well as gym fees and annual USA Boxing registration.

The GoFundMe page created for “Save the Bend Boxing Club” has raised $3,040, with 33 donors so far.

The space was originally rented out as a welding workshop and then turned into a gym.

It is not meant to be a commercial venture as Rod Smith originally leased the space for industrial purposes. He spoke to the city for two months and is now in the process of applying for a conditional use permit, but needs to raise that $8,000.

The boxing club opened its gym on American Loop in southeast Bend last year. The club started in the 90s and had other locations in Bend and Redmond, for a total of five locations over the years.

Smith said, “I’ve had kids who are 50 now come up to me and tell me how great the gym was for them.”

It’s a non-profit organization where people of all ages and skill levels can “improve their health, discipline and confidence through sport,” the fundraising page says.

“I started boxing in the Navy. I was a wrestling coach at Mare Island in Vallejo Naval Station,” Smith said. “The boxing guy got sick and I took his place in twelve naval districts on Treasure Island. I fell in love with the sport. I had a guy who took me to school, beat me and showed me what boxing was all about.”

When Smith was 18, he joined the Navy, where he discovered his love for the sport of boxing. He faced big names like James Tillis and Tyrel Briggs during his professional boxing career. Thereafter, he discovered coaching and taught others his love for the sport.

“Boxing is-I’m kind of prejudiced, but I think it’s the best sport of all,” Smith said. “Being able to build that character and inside of yourself.”

The gym provides people of all ages with discipline and confidence in and out of the ring.