Legacy of longtime Jackson boxing teacher continues at new gym – MLive.com

Wright Way Boxing
JACKSON, MI — Karinn Davis was in fourth grade when he was bullied for the first time.
Born in Benton Harbor as one of six kids to a single mother, Davis remembers being chased home from school by a group of kids nearly everyday. But his life would change when his uncle took him to the FireHouse Gym in Benton Harbor. Boxing built his self confidence, built his discipline and helped him overcome his insecurities, Davis said.
After bouncing between living in Benton Harbor and Jackson, Davis would seek a professional boxing career in Jackson from 1987 to 2018. During this time, one of his biggest role models was his trainer, Jackson boxing coach Pete Wright. Wright wasn’t the richest person in the world, as he was living paycheck to paycheck on social security every month, Davis said, but he trained his boxers at his home garage first, hanging heavy bags from the ceiling.
Anything his fighters needed — from food, to equipment — Wright made sure they got it, Davis said. His training was strict, having boxers listen instead of talking back, but under the hard exterior was a man who sought to give back to the community and ensure young Black kids in Jackson stayed out of trouble.
Wright died three years ago, but his legacy continues with a new gym off of Fourth Street in Jackson. Named Wright Way Boxing in honor of Wright, Davis said he planned to open the gym in September 2023, but after an outpouring of community support, he began accepting students in the winter of 2022.
“It’s not about the money.” Davis said, “I don’t care if I go broke. It’s about making people happy and giving back to the community”.
Davis bought the building in July, quitting his daytime kitchen manager job to work third shift at a factory to make sure he had time to be there during the day. Weeks before he bought it, there was a fatal shooting across the street, but Davis was undeterred. Even though people told him to not buy it, he knew the gym was exactly what the neighborhood needed, he said.
Even when parents can’t afford the classes, Davis tells them to bring their kids anyway. Word soon spread as people saw the kids line up everyday in the parking lot to warm up and run.
Now honking drivers and police officers are a common sight at the gym. People walk up constantly congratulating and supporting Davis for the work he’s done in the community, he said.
One student has been with Davis since the beginning.
Dierre Carlton, and his father Tevares have been with Davis since last December, when there were no other students. Tevares had been looking for a boxing gym for Dierre for a while, before eventually hearing about Wright Way and Davis from a local taekwondo instructor.
Dierre excelled during his lessons and formed a special relationship with Davis. While initially shy, his one-on-one lessons with Davis helped him break out of his shell and become more confident, he said.
“Boxing taught me to never give up, to keep going,” Dierre said.
For Dierre and the other students, the gym is a family. Parents often stay during lessons to watch and joke around with each other while the kids goof off with each other in between lessons.
Tevares echoes the sentiment of many parents at the gym when he says he loves that it helps teach his son good habits and confidence, as well as keeping him out of trouble.
“A lot of these kids are coming in here and their fathers are not involved, so they need a role model.” Tevares said. “This gym is a safe haven for the kids to interact in a positive way.”
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