Behind the constant construction in downtown Waxahachie is a small building where the youth of the city learn to respect themselves, their parents and God while leaving all bad attitudes, curse words and lazy thoughts at the door.

Welcome to Eagles Boxing Gym.

Led by J.B. Hurd, the gym established in March 2008 has become a place for all of Ellis County’s athletes to train and grow in all aspects of life.

Several members of the gym have weighed in and are preparing to take the ring in the 2010 Fort Worth Regional Golden Gloves tournament Wednesday through Saturday at the John Justin Arena in Fort Worth.

“When we go to tournaments, if I enter 10 kids at least eight of them walk out as a champion. Last year in the Golden Gloves we took eight and six won it while one lost in the semi-finals and the other lost in the finals. We make it to the top,” Hurd said.

This year Hurd plans to take a group of 10 that includes five returning champs from last year. Boxers 17 and up who compete in the open division can advance to the state tournament with a win at Fort Worth. A win at state leads to the national level, where a win there would allow the boxer to try out for the Olympic boxing team.

“The one I think I put the most pressure on is my son, Isiah. The reason I do that is because I never lost a Golden Gloves event. We were fortunate because usually any boxing clubs from Ellis County have to go to Dallas County but because I grew up boxing through Fort Worth they changed the rules. We have a little home court advantage,” Hurd said. “This whole gym got started because of Isiah saying, ‘Daddy, I want to box.’ He knew I had boxed but he never seen me box or any video of me, nothing. He said he wanted to do it so we entered him in, he won it and we opened this gym.”

Open to all people, men and women young and old, the gym focuses on boxing but that is not the only positive attribute trainees learn.

“Most people think boxing is about fighting, it is not. Boxing takes discipline, the right mindset. You have to discipline your mind and body,” Hurd said. “Everybody knows when you get into a fight you are angry, you don’t know what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and how you’re doing it. In boxing you can’t do that. Boxing is a sport and you have to focus.”

With volunteer coaches licensed with USA boxing, the knowledge of boxing at Eagles Boxing Gym is top-notch but the growth in character of each member of the gym is the No. 1 focus.

“The parents we have here, some of their children have had various challenges in life and since being here at the gym all that has turned around,” Hurd said. “We check grades. If you are not passing and my passing is 75 and above, you don’t go to tournaments with me. We encourage the students to focus on education, have respect and love for each other, respect and love for their parents and respect and love for God and then there is boxing.”

From youth and teens searching for direction in life to those looking for an edge in their athletic training there is room for everyone at the gym.

“Back in March of 2008 when we started we had a lot of the older kids and a lot of them have grown up here in Waxahachie, went to school together, black, white and Hispanic but never knew each other and now they are best friends. We have two of our young men that are serving in the Armed Forces, one is in the Marines and one is in the Army. We have another who will be joining the Marines in June. We love what we are doing here, it is not just about boxing,” Hurd said.

PBR star McKennon Wimberly trains at the gym while not riding bulls. His training with Hurd helped him snag third place in the Iron Cowboy Invitational at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

Hurd said Wimberly would have entered this year’s Golden Gloves competition but the weigh-in was Saturday and conflicted with Wimberly’s PBR schedule.

“Hunter Storz, Waxahachie high school swimmer, works out here and it enhances what he does in the swimming pool,” Hurd added.

There also are eight women who work out at Eagles with no intentions to ever step foot in the ring and box.

Growing leaps and bounds from its opening in 2008 the gym is always open to people looking to learn the “sweet science” of boxing or work on their level of fitness.

“Every year I have coaches from all levels saying, ‘What have you done to our boys?’ Boxing is a full cardio work out and helps the athletes get in shape as you work every muscle in your body. The training we put these kids through is second to none,” Hurd said. “I would recommend all local athletes to try it in the offseason to better prepare for next season.”

While the gym in closed Wednesdays and Sundays in respect to traditional church service times, Hurd said the staff is willing to work around anyone’s schedule to help them train.

“We are always looking for sponsors and donations. A lot of the equipment here I have bought with my own money but there has been a lot of equipment donated by the community. One of our sponsors, Rolands Nursery and Landscape, has helped us with T-shirts and more. He also works out here and has lost a lot of weight in the process,” Hurd said. “Custom Caregivers has also helped us in the past with special designed shirts we used at tournaments.”

Sponsorship helps the gym on various levels including tournament fees, equipment, travel and lodging and uniforms.

For more information on Eagles Boxing Gym, contact J.B. Hurd at 972-825-2424.

Contact Chad at chad.wilson@wninews.com or 469-517-1455.