Mar 02, 2017
Published by Niagara This Week – St. Catharines
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Former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson will bring his larger-than-life persona and celebrity status to the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines on May 13 for an amateur boxing event that organizers say will benefit programs guiding Niagara kids’ lives.
Boxing legend Spider Jones, who runs the Spider’s Web youth empowerment centre in one of Toronto’s most gang- and crime-infested neighbourhoods and who works with at-risk kids through his ‘Believe to Achieve’ nonprofit foundation, is bringing a Niagara version of the Fight for Youth event he’s already launched in Toronto.
The event, which will raise proceeds for youth programs in Niagara, will see 12 amateur boxing bouts pitting Canadian and American boxers against each other.
He’s partnered with Niagara Falls resident and former Olympic and pro boxer Billy ‘The Kid’ Irwin and BayShore Groups owners Robert Megna and Chiara J-Megna — who are redeveloping the former General Motors site on Ontario Street — in the Fight for Youth initiative.
Details of the event were unveiled on Feb. 28 in the new Irwin Bayshore Fight Club that Irwin, his brother Michael and the Megnas have partnered in inside the former GM administrative area.
Jones, whose Believe to Achieve organization helps kids aged eight to 16 with after-school personal development and mentorship programs, said too many at-risk young people fall through the cracks. He recently visited jails, including the Niagara Detention Centre.
“There are too many young people imprisoned because they lack mentorship,” he said. “Young people need mentorship, they need role models, they need to be empowered.
“That’s what we’re going to do.”
Chiara J-Megna said money raised from the Fight for Youth event will go to programs for kids in areas such as education, nutrition, community involvement and physical fitness.
“Hopefully we’ll raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for this community,” she said. “These two gentlemen have touched all of us,” she said of Jones and Irwin.