Tupac Shakur once wrote, “Long live the rose that grew from the concrete.”
The flower that struggles and hustles harder is more beautiful than any rose grown in a garden.
Kern County Fight Club is Bakersfield’s only nonprofit boxing gym and is one of three local USA Boxing sanctioned training facilities. Its mission is to keep kids off the streets by bringing them into the gym, using boxing as a means to teach valuable life lessons. Boxers from all over Kern, professional and aspiring alike, come to KCFC to train, make long-lasting friendships and represent the underdog boxing culture of Kern County.
As any nonprofit, KCFC keeps their doors open with donations and holding fundraising events like car washes and poker tournaments. The equipment is all donated and the professional coaches are all volunteers.
“Last year’s car wash took us to Vegas,” co-owner Johnny Salcedo said.
Funds raised pay for travel costs and hotel rooms for athletes, competition fees and equipment. Coaches and committed parents shuttle over 60 youth members around the region to competitions from the Bay Area to Tijuana.
“We are hoping to get to a point where we do not have to ask for donations from families,” said Salcedo.
Coaches train athletes and hold public classes for beginners to professional boxers. Boxers range from 9- and 10-year-olds just breaking in their gloves to off-season high school athletes looking to stay in shape to 70-year-old ex-athletes wanting to keep up reflexes and strength. Not a typical gym by any means, KCFC does not require contracts and public classes are a $10 donation per session.
Despite moving to its District Boulevard location over a year ago, KCFC wants to expand further to host more classes and give more young people, guys and girls alike, an opportunity to excel and stay off the streets.
“We are strict on grades and require a 2.5 GPA,” explained head coach and co-owner Danny Alcala. “We get pro fighters coming in to train and that helps mentor and motivate the younger ones to work harder.”
KCFC first started inside the Bakersfield Police Activities League on 4th Street, but branched off to create a boxing-only organization. Despite the split, the two nonprofits partner to raise funds and host events that will one day bring national, even international, recognition to the talented boxers of the Central Valley.
Last September, KCFC and BPAL partnered for their first-ever Beat the Streets USA Boxing event right here in the streets of Bakersfield, showcasing some of the Central Valley’s best fighters on their home turf while raising money for KCFC and BPAL. In a blowout event, 1,300 fans headed to Stramler Park to watch professional boxers, including BHS graduate Miguel Contreras, who currently boasts a 6-0 record with five knockouts, and 18 year-old Alex de Luna, who has a 2-0, two-KO record. ￼