By CHRISSY SMITH
Slidell Sports Editor
SLIDELL – Anointed Hands Boxing isn’t like any other boxing gym.
Dupre Strickland, who started the gym in 2009 with his wife of 21 years Shedee, had a vision to open a boxing facility that was family-friendly and profanity-free. He wanted it to be a place that kids and adults could come and be part of a positive atmosphere. So far, Strickland’s vision is coming true.
Strickland is a former professional fighter. He started fighting when he was in junior high school in 1988. As an amateur fighter, he stuck with it through ups and downs. Then he tried out for the Olympics and made it to the trials. From there, he went to Houston and decided to forfeit because things were not what they seemed, according to Strickland.
“I felt like I was tricked to get there,” Strickland said. “I knew it would all work out for the best so I came home and continued to run all over town.”
Strickland is well-known around Slidell for the distances he ran all through the city most days of the week.
In 2000, Strickland fought in his first professional fight at the Casino Magic. From then until 2007, he continued to fight professionally, which led him to opening up a boxing gym, which he did in 2009. Now Strickland trains kids and adults in workout sessions as well as trains professional MMA fighters.
“We have people from eight years old to 80,” Strickland said. “We are exercising and using our bodies. I teach them a lot of typical workouts and we use jump rope, do jumping jacks, stretch, push-ups, sit-ups and use the medicine ball.”
Strickland’s nephew, Eric Thompson, is a professional MMA fighter, and he just won the welter weight title in Bay St. Louis last month. He won with a second-round knockout.
“Training here has been one of the most intelligent moves of my career,” Thomas said, who went to school at Salmen High School. “I’ve learned how to have more confidence and fundamentals. Most importantly, I’ve learned more about my relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Thompson, who is 27 years old, won the 2006 and 2009 Oscar Jackson knockout of the night awards as well as tying the world record of fastest knockout in seven seconds.
“Winning the title last month was like a long dream come true. There was a lot of focus that went into that. This place is soul food for every fighter,” Thompson said.
Strickland and his wife preach a message of positivity at their gym, which surrounds around their belief in God. However, Strickland said he’s not preaching religion at his gym; he’s preaching righteousness.
“Be positive wherever you go. Don’t be a follower; be a leader,” Strickland said.
The cost to attend Anointed Hands Boxing is $60 per month. The gym is open on Monday through Friday from 3 to 8 p.m. On Friday, the gym closes at 6 p.m. Strickland teaches a class every evening from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.