Historic Charleston Boxing Club once visited by Muhammad Ali set to reopen this year
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - For months, the future of the Charleston Boxing Club has been hanging on the ropes. Now, the City of Charleston is working to make sure the historic gym will forever have a place in the history books.
The building on the corner of King Street and Simmons Street was originally constructed as a fire station in 1933. In the 1980s, the city turned the building over to Al Meggett to start his training program. Al “Hollywood” Meggett first opened the doors to the King Street gym in 1983.
On the opening day, Muhammad Ali stopped by to congratulate an old friend.
“He came Saturday, Meggett said. "All those kids. It might have been about 100 of them up in my gym. I had a guy taking pictures of the kids interacting with Muhammad Ali. Three rolls of 36 film. I made sure that ever kid that I saw got a picture with Ali.”
For years Meggett has trained multiple generations of kids. The walls of the gym are bare now, but they were once lined with pictures of the greats who have passed through. Some of the big names include Ali, Joe Frazier, Strom Thurman, Floyd Mayweather and Forrest Whitaker.
The city shutdown the gym in 2018 because of safety hazards and structural deficiencies. They are currently testing the building for lead and asbestos before moving on to the next step of renovations. The renovations will take hundreds of thousands of dollars.
87-year-old Meggett is eager to get back inside. He says the day the gym closed was painful.
“I’m hurting now. I’m still hurting," he said. "Because they haven’t started working on my building yet. That’s what I’m waiting on. Because I’ve got things to do.”
While he awaits the grand reopening, Meggett has been working on a documentary and a biography entitled “For the Love or Boxing."
Meggett says when the gym reopens he plans to train children and the elderly.
“I’ve taken kids all over the world. Kids that never had passports in their life," he said. "I gave them an opportunity to get passports and go over seas. It’s amazing. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because I knew I was doing something for the children and for the community”
More information about the gym is available here.
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