THUNDER BAY – The Underground Gym has got its new boxing ring in place and is ready to train Thunder Bay’s youth once again.
“It is very important, it is probably the main activity at the Underground, has been from day one, I mean, its spread from there, there’s a whole bunch of activities, but, this is huge,” said Peter Panetta, founder of the Underground Gym.
The Underground Gym first opened its doors on Feb. 15, 1999 and has provided a safe place for the children of Thunder Bay to better themselves through sport, particularly, boxing.
“I’ve been coming here since I was like 8 years old, I started out getting picked on a lot so I needed somewhere to make some friends,” said Nicholas Stolz, amateur boxer, “Boxing means a lot to me actually, its kept me in shape, It’s even inspired me a lot.”
After sustaining severe water damage in 2019, the gym was forced to close its doors and look for a new location to continue supporting the community, being held back further by the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once the new building was secured, Peter was thrilled by the amount of space available, but he quickly realized that the vast amount of equipment donated to the gym would eat up much of the floor space, which means that the gym would require a smaller sized ring, which is now installed and the gym is able to offer services to youth again thanks to donations of funds and labour from local businesses and community members.
“This is a real community effort, right from the building which was bought by the community, to electrical, to plumbing, to bus, it's just, it’s amazing,” said Panetta
The Underground Gym is once again open offering its services to youth who need it as well as children and youth who were displaced by the forest fires happening in the Northwest region.