Boxing program seeking community support

Boxing program seeking community support
March 08
04:00 2018

It has been exactly one year since the gym doors closed and David Villada temporarily shut down his program, Beating Up Bad Habits. In that time, Villada, who started the program to keep children and teenagers off the streets, said he has lost three participants to senseless gun violence.

“Within that time a lot of our kids have suffered because there is no extra curricular activities for them to do. A lot of our kids in the community have turned to the streets because they’re bored,” Villada said. 

From the beginning, Villada, who works as a Spanish translator, has provided the bulk of funds for the program, but last week, he called on the community he serves to help revive the program and take a step into the future. 

During a meeting on Monday, Feb. 26, widely attended by local business owners and community activists, Villada announced the possibility of partnering with Pueblo Boxing, a program based in Texas which provides the tools and instructions for a year-round youth, anti-bullying program. Pueblo Boxing already sponsors gyms in Mexico, Spain, and Cuba. 

Winston-Salem would be the first location to open in the U.S., according to the Pueblo Boxing official website. The anti-bullying program is offered year-round for children ages 7 and older. There is also a summer camp, and “Future Champs” camp offered to children ages 4 to 6 years old. 

“It’s going to be called Pueblo Boxing Winston-Salem, but the program is what matters. The service that we bring to these kids is what matters,” Villada said. “These people need us and we have the outlet to show them which way to go. Us giving them other avenues to deal with their anger is giving them another way of life.”

Beyond keeping local children and teens off the streets for more than six years, Beating Up Bad Habits has taught hundreds of young men in the community discipline, structure and other real life lessons. According to an article published in The Chronicle last year, 75 kids were enrolled in the program. 

The program also allows participants to register with USA Boxing, a youth travel boxing league. 

Along with adopting the new program, Villada is also looking to relocate. In coming weeks, Villada and his business partners are expected to announce where that location will be. The program was originally held at Champion MMA and Boxing Club, on Old Lexington Road. 

When discussing the timeline for the start of the revived program, Villada said he is looking to be up and running before summer. He said with help from the community, the program has the potential to be better than ever. Before leaving the meeting last week, several attendees pledged to make donations to the program. 

“This is the first time we’re going to revive the whole movement. Being in the streets has got our kids in a lot of trouble, involved with gangs, victims of gangs, victims of crimes, locked up and some of them are even dead,” Villada said. “We’ve been to these funerals and these bedsides. I ask for you guys to see our vision to help us get this back going.

“They need our help. They aren’t asking for it but they need it. The streets are crying.” For more information on Beating Up Bad Habits and the future of the program, email the organization at

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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