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Landmark Tacoma Boxing Club displaced, desperate to find new home

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TACOMA -- One of the best boxing clubs for kids in the Pacific Northwest is now in jeopardy.

The Tacoma Boxing Club has been a landmark for more than three decades, keeping kids off the streets and teaching not only boxing but life skills.

“The majority of us here are inner-city kids,” boxer Hector Rendon said.

And they have big dreams.

“I think about winning,” boxer Hailey Roberts said.

Fresh from a championship win, Roberts is surging with confidence. Her coach Tom Mustin believes she and the others can one day become Olympians like the ones on the walls he's helped get there.

“We volunteer our time, we've never gotten paid for doing this. We barely raise enough money to pay for the trips we go on,” Mustin said.

But for the first time in 36 years, Mustin fears his club is about to get knocked out for good.

“For the Tacoma Boxing Club, this is the fight of our life,” Mustin said.

He’s trained countless kids inside a gym at the Boys & Girls Club in Hilltop but now Mustin’s crew has been told to find a new space to train.

The Boys & Girls Clubs says their goal is to get more teens off the streets and they believe turning the boxing gym into a basketball court will help.

“We will fill that gym up, we will have 200 more teen members when we get that gym going,” Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound CEO Mark Starnes said.

If the organization doesn't use a $50,000 grant to build the court by the end of the year, the money goes away.

“It’s a tough decision. Our goal here is that both programs will continue,” Starnes said.

But the Tacoma Boxing Club says it can’t survive if they have to pay rent somewhere else.

“I don’t want to let this go to waste,” boxer Dedrick said.

They're worried about losing their home.

“All of our memories and our hard work would go right out the door,” Roberts said.

So will the legacy that comes with it.

If Mustin’s boxing club can’t find a new location and a way to pay for it, the club will have to shut down by October 1.

The boxing club's Facebook page has received tens of thousands of comments from people who are concerned.

The Boys & Girls Clubs says it's helping the boxing club find a new spot. The groups are getting together Thursday to brainstorm ideas.