Mike Tyson to headline event for local boxing gym that doubles as Christian mission – PennLive

Mike Tyson is among a who's who of former pro fighters scheduled to appear at a fund-raising dinner and boxing match to be held by the 5 Stones Fight Club of Annville, Pa., this October. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP
Legendary heavyweight champ Mike Tyson is coming to a local boxing gym, not to fight, but to help raise money for the gym’s ongoing Christian missions.
Shane Manney, CEO and director of ministry at 5 Stones Fight Club in Annville, said Tyson, among other big boxing names such as ‘Irish’ Mickey Ward, are confirmed to appear at a VIP dinner and 15-fight boxing match set for late October in Palmyra.
“We’ve got contracts for everybody that’s on that list,” Manney told PennLive, referring to the who’s who roster of veteran boxers scheduled to appear, including Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley, Riddick Bowe, Vinny Paz, Vincent Pettway and Michael Olajide, among others.
Manney said the gym’s trainer, Alan Blyweiss, simply began phoning up the former pro fighters he knew to ask them to appear at the gym’s first-ever fund-raising dinner and boxing match.
“Alan spared with Tyson, Lennox Lewis. He’s been around for a while. His boxing history is pretty good,” Manney said of Blyweiss, a Baltimore-born brawler who’s been boxing since age 7.
Manney said he met Blyweiss about 15 years ago when the ex-boxer had his hands full fighting with life – and losing. Since then, the two have collaborated on establishing the boxing gym that doubles as a church and Christian mission.
“He met Christ, and God radically changed his life,” Manney said of Blyweiss. “We are working together, doing this kind of stuff now.”
Even the fight club’s name, 5 Stones, is biblical, referring to the only ammunition David armed himself with for his big showdown with the giant, Goliath.
“Everybody has giants in their lives, whether it’s addiction, depression, anxiety or fitness issues,” Manney said. “The whole focus is to get people physically fit, mentally focused and spiritually charged.”
To do that, the boxing gym takes down the ropes on Sundays, and Manney preaches right from the ring to a congregation of about 80 fighters, some of them veterans, who are at various stages of getting up from life’s canvass.
An image from one of the Sunday services held at the 5 Stones Fight Club in Annville, Pa. (Provided Photo)Provided Photo
As for Blyweiss, he doesn’t just teach the gym’s boxers to ‘stick and move.’ He provides daily life lessons, as well.
“He just likes to hang out and talk life with the guys,” Manney said of Blyweiss. “He says anybody can teach someone to box. It’s the life stuff that matters.”
These days, 5 Stones has a 10,000 square-foot facility in Annville, but its beginnings were humble.
“Our gym is a sports ministry. It started in my basement in 2008,” Manney said.
The gym’s Christian mission travels far beyond its brick-and-mortar location. Manney said there are regular overseas trips involving disaster relief, medical treatments, humanitarian aid and even some unconventional – some would say dangerous – missions to global hotspots like Iran, Iraq and Syria.
“It’s not a typical missionary organization, if you will. It’s a fight gym,” said Manney, a former Marine and Iraq War vet. “We have a lot of vets that come through our doors. The mentality is slightly different: ‘Where is the worst place in the world we can go? Let’s go there’.”
The gym’s fundraising events will help finance future missions, Manney added.
A VIP dinner featuring all of the named pro fighters is set for Friday evening, Oct. 28, at the gym. Cost is $100 per person, with capacity limited to 300 people.
The 15-bout amateur boxing match is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at In the Net sports facility outside Palmyra. General admission is $25 and ringside seats are $65.
5 Stones is also selling 10-seat ringside tables for $2,500, which will feature visits with all of the veteran guest fighters, including Tyson. Sponsorships for the event are priced at $5,000. Additional details are here.
Mike Tyson, at the height of his boxing prowess, knocks down Steve Zouski in the third round in 1986.AP
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