The boxing gym where Nico Hernandez trained for his bronze-medal run at the Olympics is being turned over to a nonprofit group run by members of his family.
The City Council agreed Tuesday to give Hernandez Boxing Academy the building it now occupies at 1901 N. Market for a payment of $1.
The academy is a nonprofit group run by Hernandez’s uncle Emiliano, and his father and trainer, Lewis.
It’s become a community institution, said council member Janet Miller.
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“In addition to producing Nico Hernandez, the bronze-medalist Olympic boxer, it has also helped a number of boys and girls in the area learn alternatives to getting into trouble,” Miller said. “It’s character developing, in addition to fitness and learning a particular sport.”
The gym is best known as the site where Hernandez trained for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Lightly regarded in the boxing world, he became the first American man to win a boxing medal since 2008 and the first American to medal in the light-flyweight division since the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
Hernandez turned pro after the Olympics and has a record of 3 wins and no losses.
His fourth scheduled fight, a bout for the IBA Americas flyweight title, has been postponed until February due to a training injury.
The gym building was constructed as a fire station in 1954. It closed in 1978 when the city built a new station on North Broadway.
Since 2010, it’s been leased for $200 a month as a nonprofit facility teaching boxing and life skills to disadvantaged youths and others in the community.
The building was gutted by a fire last year, but the Hernandezes raised about $100,000 in cash and services to rebuild and reopen the gym in September.
The city decided to give over the ownership of the property in recognition of the investment the boxing academy made in rebuilding it.
In addition, the academy saved the city about $55,000 in taxpayer money it would have cost to tear down the fire damaged structure, according to a city report.
“Owning a permanent location will greatly aid the Academy in future recruitment and fund raising efforts, and the Academy has agreed to continue to operate the building as a boxing training facility for a minimum of five years,” the report said. “The long term establishment of the Academy will greatly contribute to the constructive well-being of area youth.”