In a field just behind Jefferson Middle School, punches flew. Padded by boxing gloves and officiated by an informal referee, these were not punches thrown in anger. The series of boxing matches, with participants getting together to spar and train, were started by Gary Lewis in an attempt to "chill the violence in town."

Lewis organizes the sparring sessions once a week, streaming them on Facebook Live, and as the weather turns colder, the group is looking for a gym to meet in. Saturday's meetup was mostly young men, some of whom are looking to train and box professionally, but Lewis says the group is reaching out to women and youths who might be interested in the non-violent outlet.

"It's for a good cause," Lewis said.

  • Assistant Director of Photography at the Columbia Missourian. Reach me at or on Instagram @tristenrouse