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Legendary boxing coach continues mission of helping at-risk youth in Syracuse

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Ray Rinaldi's "Fighting for Our Future" fundraiser on Saturday is helping at-risk kids stay out of trouble.

Rinaldi keeps the kids busy by offering them boxing lessons and even help with school work.

It is a time-tested formula to keep kids safe while teaching them life lessons.

"It carries over. Three or four weeks complete attitude change," Ray Rinaldi said.

Thousands of at-risk kids have stepped into Ray's ring and have gone on to be successful members of the community.

"It's been successful because all your doing is you build his confidence. He's able to speak out okay without fighting," Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi has been a boxing coach since the fifties.

Around 30 years ago he opened the center for at-risk youth.

Now, there are two centers and more coaches.

"The kids' behavior changes. They're behavior. They start listening a little better," Oscar Peralta, coach at West Area Athletic and Education Center, said.

And just over the past four years, the gym has churned out nine national champions.

Antwan Hunter is a national champ.

He has been going to Rinaldi's gym for nearly half of his life, and kids like Hunter, are learning a lot more than how to throw a left hook.

"We're not just a boxing club. I'm a school teacher. We do regents review. After school, we're tutoring every day. We have a computer lab," Chris Burns, coach, and teacher at West Area Athletic and Education Center, said.

The fundraiser is at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que on Saturday night from 6 to 10.

It is $30 to get in and all proceeds go to the Ray Rinaldi Foundation and will help continue Ray's mission of coaching and teaching at-risk kids.

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