Local government, Schools

Boxing club proposed in Ontario to provide more options for youth

Mike Padilla wants to get some students into the boxing ring ­– and soon.

Padilla works in student safety and prevention for the Ontario School District.

He’s working now to establish a boxing club for Ontario students that would eventually become another sanctioned team sport.

The Ontario City Council and the Malheur County Court support the idea. The Ontario council is considering where to tap its budget to support the program with $6,000. The Malheur County Court wanted assurances from school district officials before committing to Padilla’s request for another $6,000.

And recently, the Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce offered $10,000 to buy a competition boxing ring that could be use in events drawing in other boxers.

In a recent presentation to the court, Padilla explained he’s been in boxing for two decades as a fighter and a coach.

He is proposing a program affiliated with USA Boxing, an arm of the U.S. Olympic Committee. USA Boxing’s mission is “to promote and grow Olympic-style amateur boxing in the United States,” according to its website.

Padilla said he has 27 middle and high school students interested in boxing. He said he’s putting together interim funding until the next Ontario School District budget cycle. He hopes to have the district pick up the funding as it does other sports.

“We are still in the planning stages and working on navigating the details of how to establish them as a club,” said Taryn Smith, communications manager for the school district. “We are very excited about this opportunity for students.”

Padilla said a county-owned boxing ring would be put back into service in Ontario. He hopes to use funds to pay the USA Boxing membership fee of $125 for students who can’t afford the price.

“There is a lot of poverty in our area,” Padilla said, explaining the boxing club would be another resource to help local youth.

He envisions three major boxing events each year that would be “good for local business.”

County officials told Padilla they generally supported the idea but wanted more details on arrangements with the school district.

The Ontario council and the court were expected to consider financial support for the program soon.

Commissioner Don Hodge said he considered Padilla’s idea a “phenomenal” project.