This article was updated here.
Joe Frazier’s Gym has been closed, likely forever, according to a press release from the boxing and training facility in North Philadelphia.
Frazier, the former heavyweight champion of the world and longtime rival of Muhammad Ali, lived in a small apartment above the gym, while he toured throughout the country. His son Marvis, also a former boxer, handled the daily operations of the gym, which served as much a community center and outreach program as a training facility.
“It’s not always about boxing,” Marvis told The Temple News last October. “We’re trying to change young men.”
The gym opened at 2917 N. Broad St., above Glenwood Avenue, in 1969, a few years after Joe turned professional in August 1965. Joe was born the youngest of 12 children on Jan. 12, 1944 in Beaufort, S.C., but made Philadelphia his home. He won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, before beginning one of the most celebrated careers in boxing history, earning a 32-4-1 career record and winning 27 of his victories by knockout. His three matches against Ali in the 1970s are often considered among the best in sports history.
“Joe Frazier’s name means something to people,” Marvis said last fall.
Marvis trained at the now closed gym, also, launching his career there in 1975 and returning to serve as general manager after he retired in 1990. Despite success as an amateur, his professional boxing career was less memorable. Aside from his responsibilities at the gym, Marvis doubled as a Delaware reverend, as The Temple News reported.
“This is the ministry God has given me,” Marvis said.
In retirement, the Frazier’s were a draw for top young boxing talent even beyond the region. In February, British featherweight Marianne Marston moved from London to Philadelphia in order that she might train under Joe. Another top female boxer that has been forced to find a new boxing home is Diane Moses, originally from Jacksonville, Fla. Jayson Sia, mentioned in the release, moved from Los Angeles to train.
“The gym is closed, it’s over.” said Marvis Frazier, Joe’s son, in the release.
The official date the gym was shut down was March 30, according to the release. Calls to the gym by The Temple News were not returned.
Christopher Wink can be reached at email@example.com.