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Heavyweight champ of at-risk kids

Submitted by on June 9, 2009 – 2 Comments

Ron Lyle was ranked number two behind Muhammad Ali for the boxing title of World Heavyweight Champion in the mid-seventies after he knocked down George Foreman three times. Now, Lyle trains young men at The Salvation Army Red Shield Youth Center in Denver, Colorado.

Photo credit: Stephanie Gustafson

Photo credit: Stephanie Gustafson


Heavyweight Terrence Perro is 29 years-old; exactly the same age Lyle was when he began his heavyweight boxing career. Perro and Lyle have a lot in common. For starters, they grew up in rough neighborhoods where gang members called the shots. They also made some choices that they aren’t proud of. Fortunately, for both men, boxing changed all that.

Lyle is happy to pass some of what he’s learned along the way to his boxing students. Boxing allows him a forum to share what he knows, but more importantly, save lives. A familiar Lyle mantra is about gangs. He says, “It’s simple. There’s no future in it. Let’s be real. The only future in gangs is two things: jail or the cemetery.”

Thankfully, Terrence Perro was listening. Now a national Silver Gloves champion, Perro’s life passed through some difficult stages: drug addiction and probation, to name a couple. Not only does he have a boxing career and a caring mentor, he has his life. Perro says he doesn’t know where he’d be now if he hadn’t found The Salvation Army Red Shield and Ron Lyle.

We feel the same way. Salvation Army youth centers across the US are offering alternatives to the hopelessness of gangs and drugs. Click here to enter your zip code at our website so you can find a youth center where you can give your time to save a kid’s life. You’ll be glad you did.

> Click here to read more about Ron Lyle in the Denver Post newspaper’s online edition.

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