I-Witness: A Dream not Deferred…

Written by admin   // September 2, 2010   // 0 Comments

Remembering Al Mooreland

It was a knock them down count them out at the Martin Luther King Community Center as young future Olympic boxing hopefuls entered the ring for the Al Mooreland Amateur Boxing Tournament.

Many of you who may have known the late Al Mooreland, know that he had a love for children and believed he could make a difference in their lives. And he did.

Mooreland took young guys off the streets and truly gave them not only something to do, but he also showed them how to build good character and self esteem. He also taught them about team work and how to work hard for the things you want in life. He made them believe they could become champions not only in the ring, but in life as well.

Al was a boxer while he served his county in the U.S. Air Force. He fought 10 bouts and lost 2.

For many years Mooreland opened several gyms for young men. He basically financed them out of his own pocket to give these young men something to do to keep them off the streets. His love for boxing and young people is what inspired him and kept him going.

Mooreland was more than a coach and trainer to the young men. He was a father figure to many of them.

He had a passion for boxing and was a true humanitarian says his brother, Tom, who has now taken over for Al Mooreland.

He would send boxing gloves all over the world, to Africa and other countries. So that children who wanted to box could.

Before his passing, the boxing gym was housed in the King Community Center. Recently Val McCollum, executive director of the King Center, dedicated a new expanded room for boxing, with new equipment and the whole ball of wax in a tribute to Al Mooreland.

Bubbles (Ed) Miller the artist presented the Al Mooreland Amateur Boxing Club, a painting he was commissioned to do in honor of Mooreland and his contributions to making a difference in the lives of thousands of young men in a life-time. “52 Years of Inspiration and Motivation”

Fred Batton flew in with his wife to pay tribute to a man who made a difference in his life. As well as Lyle McDowell, who held the title of Wisconsin State Boxing Champion for years.

Often Al would say he is going to retire, but then he would hear of a young man being killed or going to jail. He would then say, “I can’t retire, I can’t quit now.” Mooreland felt boxing could help young men get some of that anger out.

Said Tom Mooreland: “I knew nothing about boxing, but I learn fast. All I knew is that I had to keep my brother’s legacy alive. He has contributed so much, literally to thousands. So it looks like I’ll be help a while too.”

Mooreland has picked up and is continuing his brother’s legacy. The young men he trains are strong, powerful and successful in their craft.

“At the Golden Gloves this year, we had three champions and two went to the nationals in Little Rock, Arkansas. Adams Willis at 178lbs and Jermaine House at 123lbs ranks No. 3 in the nation in their weight class,” Mooreland added.

In addition to training young men, Mooreland states, “we have a lot of young women who are boxing. We take good care of our kids, before they do a bout, they are given a physical, then we match them up by weight and number of bouts.

“We have a lot of rules in place that safe guard the health and safety of our athletes, which comes first in all cases with us.”

In addition to strict rules, the Al Mooreland Amateur Boxing Club has  strict requirements to which the athletes must adhere. “They must stay in school, stay in shape, and work hard. Boxing requires discipline. Boxing is a team sport first then you fight one on one.”

There would be no boxing without judges. Attorney Roy Evans is the highest ranking U.S. Boxing Judge in the State of Wisconsin. He serves as an announcer at the Mooreland bouts. Evans noted the difference between a fighter, and an amateur boxer.  When you are a fighter, you get paid. As an amateur you compete.

Al took many of these kids off the streets to let them feel a real punch without a gun. Now his boxing  club is continuing to make a difference in lives of many young people like James Owens, who is known as Superstar at the gym.

“Al Mooreland Amateur Boxing Club has kept my mind focused on my goals to win championships to become a pro. You have to be in the gym everyday, which means, I didn’t have time for anything else,” Owens said.

At the dedication onlookers were able to witness the success of the Al Mooreland Amateur Boxing Club. The gym was at full capacity with standing room only. Scouts were all over the place. Ringside is the way the young boxers have to be viewed for opportunity to go pro or be selected for the Olympic team.

Radio personality D. Rock provided the musical entertainment.

The bout attraction of the evening was Baugh Michael of Racine, Wisconsin and Willis Adams of Milwaukee. There were cheers for both guys.

Michaels and Adams duked it out until the bout was over, leaving the officials to decide the winner. It was a great fight with Willis Adams of Milwaukee leaving as the victor.

I know Al would have loved it. But what he would have loved most was seeing all the young men and women who filled that gym as spectators and participated in having a great time while learning how to take a punch without a gun.

Ok, so Roy Evans presented I-Witness with a trophy as a Knock-out Champion. Just because I think I can still knock somebody out, Holla!

Hey, Tom I had a great time. The energy of hope filled that gym. You are a wonderful little brother to step up for your brother, Al to keep his dreams of helping and loving a child who needs it.

I-Witness hopes that those in our community will sometimes come out and volunteer or perhaps contribute a couple of bucks to the Al Mooreland Amateur Boxing Club to keep Al’s dreams alive for the children. Great job! Keep advancing that next generation I love it!

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