A youth boxing event is in jeopardy after the venue they rented suddenly closed. It is the annual fundraiser for the boxing program at Rival Boxing Gym in southwest Oklahoma City. The proceeds allow young boxers to compete across the country.
Organizers found out Tuesday, the Ramada hotel on East Reno where they paid a deposit on is closed due to delinquent taxes.
“If it wasn’t for us trying to go out and contact them,” said Eric Puente, Rival Boxing Gym co-owner. “We would have never known that they shut down.”
Puente not only trains youth to compete in matches across the country but life skills.
“We look at boxing gyms as a safe haven,” said Puente. “It’s kind of something to keep them out of trouble and that’s why we keep it open. Keep the kids active and not on the streets.”
Puente contacted News 9 because the gym's annual fundraiser is only two weeks away and in need of a venue. The event funds many of the youth boxing trips.
“We have a couple of them that were going to enter into an October, the elite division for USA boxing,” said Puente. “So this was going to fund that trip.”
The annual fundraiser is a boxing showcase for local and regional youth.
“We’re looking to have 500 people this year,” said Puente. ‘If not more.”
But now he is scrambling to find a venue that can hold that many people and a boxing ring. They put $1,200 down to rent the event space at the Ramada.
“They sold us that they remodeled and everything is up to par,” said Puente. “So we took a chance.”
But the venue closed down without any communication and they're out the deposit money.
“We’re got to fill out a complaint and they will review the complaint,” said Puente. “They’ll let us know if we will be refunded back.”
Puente is staying positive they will get their money back and find a venue in time for the fundraiser.