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‘Willing to help’

2XL gets $7,000 for boxing ring

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Unique Car Club’s Juan Rivera presents a $7,000 donation check to 2XL as the program’s children, supporters and workers surround him, Monday at the group’s space on Townsend Street in Dunkirk.

Unique Car Club of Dunkirk donated $7,000 this week to a city after-school program for a boxing ring.

Juan Rivera, the car club’s founder, said it raised most of the funds at an Oct. 9 show at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds.

“We raffled off a TV. We had people selling tickets all over Dunkirk,” he said. The bulk of the $7,000 came from that, but some came from a donation by Jose DeJesus and his Buffalo car business, JJ Details and Maintenance.

The money went to 2XL, which started as a boxing program for youth, but has branched out into all sorts of other activities to keep the little ones occupied.

Rivera used to box for 2XL — in fact, he was one of the program’s original boxers when it was incorporated in 1999, said the program’s head, Chris Rodriguez.

The donation plan came out of a meeting between the two men after a Common Council meeting in July, where Rodriguez defended Rivera over a show in June that angered residents and officials over noise issues. In gratitude and out of a desire to help the community, Rivera offered to fund-raise for 2XL at an upcoming show.

“I told him, I’m willing to help as much as I can,” Rivera said.

The ring will eventually get installed at 2XL’s space inside the old Regent Theater on Third Street. However, there is plenty of renovation necessary there, so for now, it will apparently be used for exhibitions. Rivera said he has offered, and is working out details on, hosting boxing exhibitions with the ring at Unique Car Club’s first three shows next year.

Rodriguez said Monday’s check presentation came on the 22-year anniversary of 2XL’s incorporation.

He pointed out the program has expanded far beyond boxing. In conjunction with the Kids at Promise initiative, the program offers activities such as arts and crafts and has a second floor lounge where kids can do homework or just hang out. Kids at Promise and 2XL currently share space at a Townsend Street building rented from Blessed Mary Angela Parish.

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