Founder of Kensington boxing ministry watches protege make debut at The Met

Paul Kurtz
February 22, 2019 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Kensington man who runs a boxing ministry will be ringside this weekend, helping his young protege in his first professional fight
 
Every day, nearly 75 young people, mostly boys, walk the gauntlet of addicts under the El on Kensington Avenue to get to Rock Ministries, a boxing-centric sanctuary that Buddy Osborn opened 15 years ago.   

Osborn served five years in prison for racketeering before finding God and dedicating his life to helping youths. The two-time Golden Gloves champion also became an ordained minister. 

"Boxing is the ministry," he explained. Rock Ministries offers 26 rooms, each with a different purpose for the community. "We have grappling, boxing. We have homework club, music, art, rappelling."

It's all free — with one string attached.

"What we'll do at 6 o'clock on Tuesday, we'll stop and have a prayer for five minutes. Then on Thursday, we have a Bible study," he said.

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Since Rock Ministries opened 15 years ago, Osborn said they have helped 10,000 kids.

The ministry has been a life-changer for 20-year-old Tyhler Williams, who will make his professional boxing debut Saturday night at The Met in North Philadelphia.

"I've been fighting for about eight years now," said Williams. "(Osborn has) always seen me since I was a kid, so he kind of stuck back in the shadows and watched me till I got older, and we just started a connection and started to click."

Rock Ministries has been a life-changer for Tyhler Williams, who will make his professional boxing debut at The Met Philadelphia.
Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

"When I was a kid it was just an experience. But the longer I stayed and the more I came, it started to grow on me," Williams continued. "And once you have the word, you already know to stay away from all the other things that you see outside, and just to stay positive and keep focused."

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Williams looks up to Osborn as "an example of what hard work can do no matter where you live. No matter where you're at, especially in this area."

"I've witnessed a lot," he added. "I witnessed drug deals, shootings. I've seen addicts stickin' themselves with needles. I walk past it every day. I live here — I've seen it all."

Tyhler Williams (left) will make his professional boxing debut Feb. 23, 2019 at The Met Philadelphia. He was guided by Rock Ministries founder Buddy Osborn (right) for years.
Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio