A boxing champ is working to keep young people out of trouble and give “hope” in Whitehaven.

At ManDown Boxing Club in Memphis, every punch has a purpose. Since he was a teen, owner Macro Hall, Jr., has been in the boxing ring fighting a troubled childhood.

“Foster homes, from home to home, being in survival mode and trying to figure my own life out,” Hall said.

The five-time Golden Glove champion grew up in Whitehaven, the same community he’s now working to help.

“I just opened this gym to give the children and young adults a fair chance,” said Hall. “When I found boxing it was love at first sight.”

During the school year, the gym is filled with students and many are on free scholarships. Recently, 15 students at Westwood Elementary received free scholarships.

“I deal with children who are ADHD, mental abuse, neglect,” Hall said. “I show them that someone loves them. I love them, I tell them that.”

While the kids are in school, he works one-on-one with young women and men.

“My first day I was standing right here. He showed me boxing punches and I threw up. He told me to come back,” said Teddy Carruthers, Jr.

Coming back even when it’s hard is a message that resonates beyond boxing for Carruthers.

“It turned into dealing with anger, now it’s just a pure love for the sport. I love boxing,” Carruthers said.

“Giving the youth hope, not dope” is Hall’s motto and motivation.