Sports

Local boxing club currently homeless

"Cal Gilbert must be spinning in his grave.Cal's Olympic Boxing Academy, an amateur boxing program named after Gilbert, is currently homeless.A three-year partnership with Lloyd's Muffler came to an end last week when the company moved to Wyoming.The owner of the building wants us out, coach Jack Romo said. Right now, everything is stored at my house and Louie's (Romo) house.Lloyd's Muffler had donated the upstairs of its building to Cal's Olympic Boxing Academy for the last three years.For 18 years the academy has been been run by the Romo family.Louie Romo, uncle to Jack and Randy, started working at the academy with Gilbert in 1980 and took over the Bremerton gym in 1983 when Gilbert died. A couple of years later the academy moved to Louie's house in Port Orchard.A gym became available at Lloyd's Muffler in the late 1990s and seemed to be the solution.It was a pretty nice place, though it was a little small, Louie said. We sometimes had 15 to 20 guys in there at once. If there wasn't enough room they'd just bounce off of each other.Louie said about 2,000 boxers have come and gone since he took over the gym.Louie has recently retired, leaving the coaching up to Jack and Randy.Because the academy is a nonprofit and self-supporting organization, there is no way to afford the rental of space.The Romos are hoping a business or individual will volunteer some space for the academy to continue.You can use it as a tax write off and you'd be giving to the community, Romo said.Louie said there are plenty of vacant lots but finding someone to donate the space will be difficult.Romo said he can't imagine not having a place for his amateur boxers to train. But it's not just about finding a place for his boxers to train.The amateur boxing program provides a clean, wholesome atmosphere where participants learn the ethics of hard work, he said. They are given the opportunity to build self-confidence, good sportsmanship, discipline and physical fitness. Romo said boxing has earned a bad reputation in the pro ranks, but he insists amateur boxing is a stark contrast to pro boxing.Amateur boxing contributes to the physical and social development of our youth, Romo said.Much like Gilbert, the Romo family has sacrificed time and money for the good of the youth of the community.We supply all training equipment, Romo said. When our team travels, we pay all motel and transportation costs. We don't require participants to sell candy or solicit funds for our program. Each participant gets equal time in competition and in the gym no kids sit on the bench.Of course none of this is possible if the training equipment lays dormant in storage****Gray Info Box****Anyone interested in donating space for Cal's Olympic Boxing Academy can contact Jack Romo 769-8042 or Louie Romo 871-1238. "

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