By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson
September 22, 2017 (El Cajon) - “Yes, we had a boxing glove shaped pool,” said Billy Moore, son of legendary boxer Archie Moore said during a 1M Punches from the Heart event in El Cajon over the weekend. Archie, who died in in 1998 in San Diego and resided here with his family for parts of his life, was the longest reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion of all time from 1952-1962, He also trained Muhammad Ali, James Tillis, and George Forman.
Billy Moore, a resident of San Diego, is carrying on the boxing training tradition as President of ABC Youth Foundation and more. ABC stands for Any Body Can. The foundation runs boxing and youth enrichment programs—as well as a campaign to gather 1 million punches to punch out racism, gang violence, and mistrust of the police. Over the weekend, that campaign came to the Heartland Fire and Rescue Department’s Station 6 in El Cajon on September 15 and 16.
El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis, Heartland Fire and Rescue Chief Colin Stowell, Cajon Valley Superintendent David Miyashiro, Billy Moore, and 135 third-graders from Lexington Elementary participated in the campaign along with numerous firefighters, peace officers, probation department staff, and many more.
The novice boxers punched boxing bags for 60 seconds. Each of their punches was counted to add to the one million goal on either Friday or Saturday’s events.
Lexington Elementary’s principal, Jeremy Lyche, said, “This is a fantastic event. It’s a great way to show the fire department and law enforcement in a positive light.” Some 135 students watched and/or participated by adding punches to the total--which currently numbers over and around half a million.
“We are really looking forward to referring more of our youth to ABC to keep them out of the system,” said San Diego County Probation Department’s Deputy Chief Lorraine Fernandez, who spoke to the kids and attendees.
The saying, “Hey, Balboa,” was directed at El Cajon Police Department cadet F. Dawood, who said, I did 911 punches.” The term refers to the title character Rocky Balboa in the movie “Rocky.”
Billy Moore commented on the boxing world’s great boxers of the last mid-century, stating, “I met all of them.” Moore’s mission is profound in its own way: saving youths from gangs and training them to box through his foundation on Market Street in San Diego. “We have kids that exceed in life and boxing. We have a boxing gym and we also teach life skills,” he said.
Next up, Moore disclosed, “I’m going to Kansas City, Missouri to take the 1M Punches from the Heart Campaign… to the heart of America.” The tally of punches will increase when he travels there this fall.
To find out more about the campaign or the foundation, visit www.abcyouthfoundation.org.