By Brent Leggs and Ben Leech
Philadelphia has a rich boxing history, both real and fictional. One iconic structure from the city’s real life history—Joe Frazier’s Gym—is now well on its way to finding a new use, thanks to a collaborative effort by a team of preservationists who are working to preserve Frazier’s legacy and buy time for the future redevelopment of this national treasure.
A Rising Champion
Born to sharecropping parents in Beaufort, South Carolina, Joe Frazier eventually landed in the City of Brotherly Love, where he crafted his boxing skills and set roots in his adopted hometown. While working the local boxing circuit, Frazier signed a contract in 1966 with a group of investors who converted an old industrial warehouse into a world-class training facility for the young boxer. Frazier went on to a world-class career, and with winnings from his last Ali fight, Frazier bought the gym, located at 2917 North Broad Street, from his investors and renamed it Joe Frazier’s Gym. After retiring in 1976, Frazier kept the gym open and mentored younger fighters. His gym provided a safe haven for urban youth and served as a cultural landmark in a neighborhood suffering from years of disinvestment and crime. After his death in 2011, the warehouse changed ownership; today it houses a discount furniture store. ... Read More →