By Jenny Johnson – The Norwayne Boxing Gym opened its doors last month in at the new Jefferson Barns Community Center. It is located in the former Jefferson-Barns Elementary School in Westland. This project was spear headed by Wayne Memorial High School alumni Jeff Styers who is a former undefeated professional boxer. Today he is president of Arrow Strategies.
Several boxing greats were at the open house including Light Middleweight Champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage and former World Champions Jimmy Paul, Milton McCrory, Hilmer Kenty and Bronco McKart.
Styers grew up one mile west of Jefferson Barns. About one year ago he started working with Westland Mayor Bill Wild and started talking about Norwayne, which just got a historical marker designation.
He told the mayor if they were able to turn the school into a recreation center he would like to open a boxing gym for kids.
The gym will be open for area students and will be offered free of charge. Erskine Wade, a former boxer, is the gym trainer. The gym will offer boxing and mentoring lessons for boys and girls in the area.
The gym has a full-size boxing ring, workout area and punching bags. Two classrooms are available for members to do their homework and work with tutors from the Champions of Wayne program at Wayne Memorial High School. There is minimal cost to join the gym.