Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fighting for the future - boxing in Bayview

Ben Bautista, and the Straitforward Boxing Club he started in San Francisco's Tenderloin District, brought the excitement of the ring to Monster Park on Saturday, in honor of one of the neighborhood's heroes, Terrell "Terray" Rogers.

The 3rd Annual San Francisco Boxing Festival, in conjunction with this weekend's Stadium to Stadium 10k Run & Walk, and Shape Up SF's Health Fair, featured 20 amateur bouts. At least 200 boxing aficionados, and family and friends of the participants crowded around the ring on the 49er's field or climbed to the upper-most seats to find a bit of shade from the noon day sun. The mood was both friendly and serious.

Sanctioned by USA Boxing, the Festival is part of Bautista's master plan to put San Francisco back on the boxing map. And, if it helps youth and young adults at risk for street violence and other issues, that would be just fine with Bautista.

Bautista, himself a survivor of the streets, ceremoniously handed a prize belt to young Terrell Rogers in honor of Terrell's father, Terrell "Terray" Rogers. Terray, beloved for his work with at-risk youth through Hunters Point Family's Safe Haven Program, which he directed, was killed by gun fire earlier this year while picking his daughter up from school.

Quesada Gardens salutes Bautista, the Straitforward Boxing Club, and all those fighting for the future of community members with limited life options.

Just prior to the Festival was a health fair connecting community members with health care educators and providers, faith community workers, and others intent on improving individual and community well-being. Shape Up SF, a Mayor's Office coalition of public and private organizations sharing the goal of improved physical activity and nutrition for all (of which Quesada Gardens is a part) co-sponsored the health fair.

The fair was also the "recovery station" for about 1200 runners and walkers who had completed the 10k distance from AT&T Park to Candlestick Point.

Organizer Eugene Flannery reported that a couple hundred residents from the area attended the festivities, and that 1200 participants in the 10k event is a dramatic increase over last year's numbers.

Pictures: A fighter prepares; Ben Bautista gives a prize belt to Terrell Rogers in honor of his father; and a contender reacts to a decision that went his way.

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