Trainer wants to be solution after 28 Houston teens killed so far

Thursday, June 10, 2021
Trainer wants to be solution after 28 Houston teens killed so far
With a sizable portion of Houston homicide victims this year identified as teenagers, one boxing trainer wants to be the solution to young Houstonians who would otherwise be caught.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As homicides in the city of Houston continue to climb, a gym owner and coach is hoping to make a positive impact in the lives of at-risk youth so they don't end up on the wrong path.

Mark Owens, boxing coach and owner of Mark Owens Boxing, started his True Ring Leaders program with one purpose in mind: saving the youth.

Through his boxing and mentoring program, Owens offers boxing coaching to young teens, typically ones who come from troubled neighborhoods. His passion to do so comes from a deeply rooted issue he sees in his community: the violence and the murders.

READ ALSO: 13 Investigates: Crime reported every 7 hours in this Houston neighborhood

With crime on the rise, 13 Investigates analyzed every incident reported to Houston police since January 2020 to find the most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

In 2020, 67 kids under the age of 18 were killed by homicide in the greater Houston area. A total of 52 of those children were killed by gunshot wounds. This year, 28 kids have been killed in homicides, 24 of whom died in a shooting.

"I can't just listen to that without actively trying to be some sort of solution," said Owens. "Almost every kid in here has lost someone to gun violence."

Juan Cantos, 16, has been a part of Owens' program for about four months.

"Mark has helped me through tough times and coming here, if I ever feel any type of anger, I can just come over here and box it out," said Cantos.

With Owens expanding his gym to southwest Houston, he's able to accept more teenagers into the program.

For more information visit

Follow Stefania Okolie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.