Beyond the Ring: Undisputed Boxing Academy empowers youth in Ennerdale

In 2019, Ennerdale resident, Virgil Debeer, turned his pain into a lifeline for local youth after hearing about a young girl’s suicide, a story that resonated deeply with his own experience of losing his brother who also committed suicide due to bullying, Debeer decided to act.

The result?  The Undisputed Boxing Academy, a haven where kids learn more than just hooks and jabs.

He told GLOBE POST: “We wanted to create a safe space, a place where kids can build discipline, respect, and leadership skills, all while learning the art of boxing.”

The concept resonated with the community. Within weeks, the club boasted nearly 50 members.  Challenges arose in 2020 with COVID closures, but the club’s resilience mirrored the spirit it instills in its members. They reopened in 2022, and within a month, membership boomed once more. Over 50 kids were graded, a crucial step in their boxing journeys.

Financial limitations threatened to sideline some members with many coming from underprivileged backgrounds and affording proper boxing attire and equipment remained a hurdle.

Enter Vodacom. Recognizing the positive impact of the club, Vodacom’s business department stepped in, providing a substantial donation that allowed the club to purchase gloves, attire and essential equipment.

This transformed the experience for the young boxers. Tournaments became a reality, offering them a platform to showcase their skills and gain valuable experience.

“Vodacom’s support meant the world to us, it gave these kids something to strive for, something to fight for,” said Debeer.

The impact extends beyond the ring. The club has seen a remarkable turnaround for some young women who were struggling with depression and dropping out of school.

“Today, I’m proud to say those same young ladies are back in school, on track to complete their final year,” beams Debeer.

The Undisputed Boxing Academy’s goals reach far beyond victories in the ring.  They aspire to foster unity within the community and expand their reach.  A new venue in Ennerdale is on the horizon, allowing them to equip and empower even more youth from surrounding areas like Lakeview, Finetown and Lawley.

The Academy is a testament to the power of community and the transformative potential of mentorship.  By providing a safe space, fostering discipline, and offering a path to achievement, they are equipping young people to not only fight within the ring, but also navigate the challenges of life beyond it.

The gym based in Apollo Crescent, Ennerdale Ext 1 currently has 48 active members. For more info, contact Virgil Debeer on 078 537 5191.

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