Memphis rapper YP Hoodrich is urging his community to settle beefs with their fists instead of guns, hoping to keep kids off the streets and out of the line of fire.
On Tuesday, a group of people heeded Hoodrich’s call and gathered to settle their issues one-on-one with boxing gloves, according to FOX13 News.
Hoodrich said he had already held several of these boxing matches and that he sees it as a way for some to work out their issues in a non-lethal manner.
“I tell him like we’re going to be a gentleman today,” Hoodrich told FOX13. “It’s a gentleman’s game. You lose some, you win some. If you lose today, you still going to be brothers. We’re going to love each other. It’s just a friendly hand thing.”
The police, however, have not been as enthusiast as Hoodrich, according to community leader Frank Gotti, an adamant supporter of the boxing matches.
“The police been bothering us steady trying to break us up,” Gotti said. “And we’re just trying to come together save some lives, that’s all we’re doing.”
Memphis’s chief communications officer told FOX13 via email that “Neither the Memphis Police Department nor the City of Memphis has sanctioned our parks to be used as a staging area for rival gangs to fight.”
Despite the city’s condemnation, the group said these events have had a positive effect and that even rival gang members who once tried to shoot each other had come together and boxed out their differences.
According to The Trace, the streets of Memphis proved to be very unforgiving in 2016, as the city saw a 59 percent spike in its homicide rate, which matched the rise in Chicago.
The rise in violence is exactly why these boxing matches are vital, Hoodrich argues, as a loss in a boxing match will be far less severe than a loss in the streets.
“If you take a loss, you’re still going to be right here tomorrow,” said Hoodrich. “No matter how bad your eye might look or whatever. And you’re still going to be right here tomorrow.”