Devin Haney x Everlast: Columbia Park Clubhouse, San Francisco

December 7 2023

It was back to where it all began for Devin Haney, as the Super Lightweight supremo paid a visit to his former Bay Area youth club this week.

There couldn’t be a more appropriate nickname than “The Dream” for World Lightweight Champion Devin Haney, as he teamed up with Everlast to provide youngsters at Columbia Park Clubhouse – a club that Devin used to attend himself as a teenager – with an afternoon they’ll never forget, ahead of his blockbuster clash with Regis Prograis at the Chase Center, San Francisco this weekend.

Haney, stepping up to 140lbs as he seeks to become a two-division World Champion, delivered an inspirational talk alongside Matchroom Chairman, Eddie Hearn – highlighting the important role that Columbia Park and the sport of boxing played in his juvenile years, before handing out a whole host of boxing kit, equipment and apparel to the assembled members.

This place made me who I am.

- Devin Haney

Speaking about the impact that Columbia Park had on his life, Devin was keen to point out the importance of giving back to those that supported him at a young age.

“This is a place that I spent a lot of time. Being back here brings back so many memories,” he said.

“It’s always good to give back. It gives me that feeling, that motivation – especially going into a big fight – so I’m ready to go. This is that extra push that I needed,” continued Haney.

“This place made me who I am. I used to love coming here, so it’s just crazy to be back. I’m happy to see you guys and I want to show you that I came from the same place and I made something of myself.”

For any kid, a conversation with someone they look up to can change their direction in life.

- Eddie Hearn

Eddie Hearn built upon the sentiments shared by Haney, as he pointed out how vital it is that relatable role models give back to the next generation.

“For any kid, a conversation with someone they look up to can change their direction in life,” stated Hearn.

“So for Devin Haney to give his time as a champion that they can relate to, it’s vital. He grew up in the Bay Area, his parents are from Oakland in the Bay Area – and he went on, through hard work, dedication and a passion for his sport – to achieve,” he continued.

“These young people can achieve as well, if they have a passion, if they work hard and they’re consistent. That’s really the aim today, for them to listen to Devin Haney and to find someone that can help change their direction; To give that little bit of focus that young kids sometimes need.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco

Since 1891, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) has provided high-quality, community-based youth development services to youth in San Francisco. Their mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realise their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.

Their Clubs are located in neighbourhoods with the fewest resources for youth, and are open when youth need them the most—after school, on most school holidays, and all day during the summer. They also provided full-day programming when schools were closed during the pandemic helping youth to access their school’s remote learning.

In addition to their 13 traditional Clubhouses and School-Based Clubs in San Francisco, they also own and operate Camp Mendocino, a 2,000-acre residential summer camp that provides inspiring outdoor experiences. BGCSF impact the lives of Club members, primarily ages 6 to 18, by focusing on academic success, healthy lifestyles, good character and community engagement, and job readiness with earning potential.

We are all very proud that one of our own has made such a significant impact.

- Carlton Eichelberger

Vice President of Club Services, Carlton Eichelberger, was quick to detail the importance BGCSF place on creating a safe space for young people to grow and develop within.

“It is important for the members we serve to see themselves reflected in our staff and the community that we surround them with,” expressed Eichelberger.

“We are so fortunate to have World Champion Boxer, Devin Haney, grow up at one of our Clubs. Devin is a testament to the potential every youth has. Through hard work and dedication to his craft, he has been able to achieve great things in boxing, reaching the status of Undisputed Lightweight Champion – and we are sure he’ll soon be winning championships in multiple weight divisions.”

Eichelberger was full of pride when going on to explain the inspirational impact of Haney’s visit.

“Having Devin come back to the Clubhouse and share his growth and journey with our current members is an important part of inspiring the next generation of San Francisco youth,” he beamed.

“Devin felt it was his responsibility to share his story of growing up in San Francisco, and the importance of having a place like the Columbia Park Clubhouse to call home. He talked about the friends he made at the Boys & Girls Club and how his mother knew it was a safe place for him to be until she picked him up after work.”

“We are all very proud that one of our own has made such a significant impact, and just as proud of him for coming back to inspire others.”

It lights me up when I see the younger generation inspired by someone who shares their history.

- Chris Cugliari

Also in attendance was Chris Cugliari, Alumni Director at USA Boxing, who couldn’t hide his joy when witnessing the reconnection between a boxing superstar and his childhood home.

“It was incredibly exciting to see the Champ return to his roots and visit the space that helped shape him as a young man,” beamed Cugliari.

“It lights me up when I see the younger generation inspired by someone who shares their history, but has grown to accomplish so much. Haney has not forgotten where he came from, and I appreciate Matchroom’s efforts to connect him with the champions of tomorrow.”

All roads now lead to the Chase Center, as Haney looks to add another belt to his collection and continue his generational dominance. Having been present for his visit to Columbia Park this week, one thing’s for certain – he’ll have the whole of the Bay Area rooting for him come fight night!