Boxing club on Montreal’s West Island creating a safe space for students

Urban Legends Boxing Club in Montreal’s West Island has been opening its doors to high school students of all backgrounds, teaching them boxing is more than a combat sport, but also creating a safe space where they feel part of a community. 

The club, a collaboration between Michael Dorado and Khaled Elbassat.

Michael Dorado and Khaled Elbassat.

Michael Dorado and Khaled Elbassat collaborators at Urban Legends Boxing Club. (Photo credit: Felisha Adam)

 

“It’s a place for them to be safe and a place for them to let go of some of that aggression on the bags or on the pads with me,” says Michael Dorado, the head coach for team sports, at Urban Legends.

For Michael Dorado, he knows first hand the positive impact boxing had on him while growing up

“It allows me to control my emotions better. It allows me to be more confident when I step out of the gym and gave me a sort of like a new perspective on my life and how I’m able to carry myself as a person,” Dorado says.

Michael Dorado, boxing, at Urban Legends Boxing Club.

Michael Dorado, boxing, at Urban Legends Boxing Club. (Photo credit: Felisha Adam)

The after school programs started as a way to give students an outlet to let out their energy, after multiple health measures at the height of the Pandemic saw them staying at home. Quickly, the program grew now with most high schools under the Lester B. Pearson School Board taking part. 

For Gwendolyn Jakaboi, a student at Horizon High School, who started last November, she says it’s a way for her to forget about the anxieties of high school. “It releases kind of all the energies from the outside world of school and just everything of what’s going on,” she says. 

“It’s given me a lot of confidence, and it’s taught me, self-control. It’s taught me how to defend myself if I ever need to,” says 12-year-old Nolan Brown, a student at John Rennie High School.

When asked what boxing meant for her, Nina Davila from St. Thomas High School says she is learning how to stay focused and improving on herself control.  

Nolan Brown and Nina Davila part of the after school program at Urban Legends Boxing Club

Nolan Brown and Nina Davila part of the after school program at Urban Legends Boxing Club (Photo credit: Felisha Adam)

 

“I like coming in, I like the class, the environment and super positive. We always have a good time, and we always end up feeling really good while we’re leaving,” added Jakaboi.

With many students part of the after school program, Dorado says he’s looking to do more in the future, to provide safe spaces for students to focus on boxing but also other programs. 

“A place where kids could come after school and just find a place where they could feel at home and to, you know, make mistakes without, you know, having too many consequences,” he says.

A dream that seems to be in arms length as he and Elbassat plan on opening a bigger space come this April.

 

Urban Legends Boxing Club

Urban Legends Boxing Club in the West Island (Photo credit: Felisha Adam)

“It’s just to allow more access for schools, for students, for members to just have a bigger and better facility to, you know, to continue our progress with the gym,”

 

Top Stories

Top Stories