Local business owner claims he is being forced out of boxing gym in Core City neighborhood

Gym facing eviction

A boxing gym in Detroit might be forced to close following a dispute with a landlord.

DETROIT – A local business owner said he is being forced out of his boxing gym in Core City, despite the gym providing inner-city youth a safe place to come. 

Underdog Boxing Gym is located in Core City, a Detroit neighborhood. Gym owner Sultan Harper Bay said the name goes along with the grit and drive needed to train there.  

“We get people to move better, because you move better, you feel better. You do better,” Bay said. 

But the gym is facing a difficult time. Bay said it is the result of urban gentrification.

"I moved in when there was nothing. The architectural salvage yard was still here,” Bay said. 

Recently, new businesses started calling "Core City Park" home. The boxing gym owner said he was told that his gym is not a part of the plans. Philli Kafka said that’s not true. 

“As I was renovating the neighborhood and these buildings, he was the first person that I called and said, 'Come on, let’s do a gym,”' said Kafka with Prince Concepts. 

Kafka said he wants to build up the Core City area, and he is not trying to kick anybody out. 

“It’s hard for me to push him out of the neighborhood, if I’m the one that brought him to the neighborhood,” Kafka said, adding that the real issue started when the gym fell behind on payments. 

“His perception of what a good tenant is, and my perception and the law's perception of what a good tenant is, must be very different. Just in general, he is behind on his rent,” Kafka said. 

Bay said he’s not behind on his rent.