DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – You might think of boxing as a violent sport, but a local group sees it as a solution to fighting gun violence.

The group Rumble in the Rox sees boxing as a way to keep youth off the street, not only training them in the sport, but also teaching them that guns are never the answer. Their motto is “guns down, gloves up.”

Rodney Cameron is the CEO and Founder of the group, which started in 2020.

“Teaching kids, that we could resolve conflict without going to the most extreme violence and that we could all come together in a friendly competition to solve our problems and conflicts,” Cameron said.

Cameron uses boxing to lure in youth and young adults, then mentors them, teaches life skills, and helps resolve conflicts without turning to guns.

Cameron’s coached Markus Bowes both in and out of the ring for nearly a decade.

“He coaches us on what not to do,” Bowes said. “It helps a lot because at times we get low, we get down, we want to do thing we ain’t supposed to do and he just tells us not do it.”

The Roxboro group wants to spread its message to other cities, hosting an amateur boxing match at Durham Armory Friday night.

“Durham is kind of plagued with a little gun violence too, so we felt like we could bring a really good message here and this would be a good spot for it,” Cameron said.

This week, two people were shot and killed in the Bull City, a Duke graduate student and a 17-year-old.

According to Durham Police Data, while the number of people shot is down compared to the same time last year, the number of shootings are up.

Deandre Menser’s lost too many friends and family members to gun violence, deciding a few years ago to pick up the gloves and a cause.

“It means a lot because, you know, you can live to fight another day,” Menser said. “So, yeah, it means a lot. Put them guns down too many young lives being lost out here.”

Cameron said three of the group’s boxers have gone pro. He encourages anyone who’s interested in working with Rumble in the Rox or learning more about the group can email them at rumbleintheroxevents@gmail.com or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.