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Vegas Lost: Salvation in a boxing ring

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“I was 16-years-old I was arrested for a string of armed robberies. All over Las Vegas. I was facing a lot of prison time. Even the guards were trying to feed me extra sandwiches to get me big because I was going to prison.”

Keegan Cirillo was headed to prison. He was committing felonies before he could drive. He told us he was trying to fill the empty spot in his life typically reserved for a father.

He filled it with a gang and a gun.

“I saw these kids who were bigger and they were ready to accept me if I could do small things and they applauded me so I went deeper. Next thing you know, I’m shooting a gun off in a gas station with 25-year-old men that I thought were my fathers or brothers or whatever they were at the time.”

Today, Cirillo is a dad.

He never went to prison. Judge William Voy decided to keep him in the juvenile system. We were there ten years later when they reunited. Keegan wanted to say thank you the man who changed his life.

His life changed again after a chance encounter with Armin Van Dam. Keegan started boxing. At his first fight, his cornerman didn’t show. Armin was there.

Keegan was the latest kid to find salvation in a boxing gym near the Las Vegas strip.

City Boxing Club has become a place for at-risk kids to find solid footing. They offer free memberships to those who need it. Including anyone who graduates from Spring Mountain Youth Camp.

The discipline of the sweet science, the release of the sport, connected with those young offenders.

“Those are all our kids.” Van Dam tells us.

Keegan says boxing helped save his life.

“Trying to fill that void that I had. I want to be the person that I want to applaud me. We need men to give them the verification that they are men. That they aren’t less. And applaud them for proper things. We need to give young men that. Or we’re going to continue to lose kids.”



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