In the season of giving, help Ann Wolfe help others
Interview by Dan Horgan (Dec 16, 2006)
When an individual is at the very forefront of his or her field, pursuing other interests is certainly not uncommon.  Peter Gammons, perhaps the world’s best baseball analyst, has made his own indie rock album.  Steve Kim, one of the world’s best boxing writers, has an obsession with college football.  And Floyd Mayweather, pound for pound one the best fighters in boxing today, is the owner of Philthy Rich Records.  Obviously, there is nothing wrong with taking up these outside interests.  A creative outlet can be healthy and, let’s face it, everyone has hobbies, right?  Not Ann Wolfe.

Ann Wolfe just may be the most selfless individual in the world today.  Despite amassing a 24-1 record (with the one loss
avenged twice) and winning world titles in three weight classes, Wolfe does not take any time to pursue fun activities.  Instead, she takes the much more noble route, spending every single day in the Ann Wolfe Boxing Gym, helping to turn lives around.

When I asked Wolfe what was left for her to accomplish at the age of thirty-five, I was hoping to get an answer that revolved around her boxing career, maybe something like ‘Laila Ali needs to stop ducking me and fight me before I retire.’  However, the answer I did get was the epitome of why Wolfe should be praised, honored, and loved by everyone in the boxing world.

“I want to be the first woman to guide a male fighter to a world championship,” she said.  “Training means more to me right now than fighting, because in addition to helping the fighter to box better, I am helping them to change as a person.  Here at the Ann Wolfe Boxing Gym, we help people of all types.  We have boys and girls from ages five to seventy-five who all train here, and we judge no one.  No matter what race, what criminal background, if you come in here, you will be welcomed.”

Uplifting, right?  Well here comes the sad part.  Because of the lack of outside funding, the Ann Wolfe Boxing Gym is close to being shut down.  Right now, a man named Brian Pardo sacrifices his own salary to pay the gym’s monthly rent, but the financial strain is beginning to become too much.  This strong and happy family could be torn apart.

“If this gym closes, then many kids who have nowhere else to go will end up suffering,” said Wolfe.  “This gym is a place where they can be safe from all home troubles, where they won’t be beaten or raped.  A lot of the kids that come here look at the gym as a place to get something to eat!  You should see the way some of the kids look at me – it’s as if I’m their sister.  And I deny no kids to the gym, no matter what their financial constraints.  This gym is the only place they have to go, and without it, their only safe outlet will have been taken away.”

Imagine that.  A positive, safe refuge for troubled kids being snatched away simply because of monetary reasons.  Wolfe has the power to help these kids – after all, nearly every tournament fighters trained by Wolfe enter, they win – but she does not have the financial backing to do so.  It doesn’t get much worse than that.
While Wolfe says she does not like to beg, she is willing to swallow her pride, and encourages everyone to help out in any possible way.

“If you are in the Austin area, get a membership to the gym.  In addition to helping us out, you can get a good workout in and learn a lot about the sport.  For those who aren’t in the Austin area, donations are welcome, but what would really help is to sponsor a fighter.  By sponsoring a fighter you can change his or her life.  Every time I see someone go to prison, I get sad because I know they could have been helped.  If you sponsor one kid, then you could be the one who ends up preventing them from going to prison one day.”

To all Doghouse readers:  WE CAN HELP PREVENT THIS AWFUL TRADEGY FROM HAPPENING!  If we all chip in, we can help save the gym, and ultimately change the lives of many people.  If you are interested in helping to continue the only outlet of hope for many individuals, send all donations to 720 Bastrop HWY, Suite 109 Austin TX, 78741.  Anything you can give will be greatly appreciated by Wolfe, and the people who treat the gym as their sanctuary.

“To show how much we appreciate donations, we send donators a letter back describing to them what we do here at the Ann Wolfe Boxing Gym.  We make sure to show our gratitude.”

It is the holiday season, and there’s no better way to spread the holiday spirit then to donate money.  Just think:  You could save a young boxer’s life.  At one point in time, Ann Wolfe herself was a young refugee who was in desperate need of guidance, and she found that guidance through boxing.  Imagine if the gym she went to was not open!

Nothing but positive results can possibly come out of keeping this gym open.  Who knows?  The next heavyweight champion of the world could end up walking through its doors tomorrow, and if the gym does get shut down, he could end up choosing the wrong path in life.  Ann Wolfe has the power to save lives.  We have the power to help her.

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