Boxer Simon “One Punch” Carr ironically discovered his passion for helping youth while serving a nine-year prison sentence for killing a 13-year-old.
It happened when a correctional officer needed to give his troubled son a wake-up call. “He put me on the phone with him and the kid actually straightened out. That was when I first knew I had a purpose,” said Carr, who grew up in Grays Ferry.
Upon his release, Carr did charity work and threw youth events to provide a safe space for and a platform for budding singers, artists and poets.
“The same community I helped destroy and damage, I wanted to come back and repair,” he said.
After six years of spending his freedom helping youth, Carr, 35, has decided to bring his life full circle and step back in the ring. The pro boxer hopes for mid-January return. “There are still some things I want to achieve before it’s over,” he said.
Still, Carr said boxing doesn’t compare to his other work. He hopes to start a formal mentoring program for kids who would otherwise be on the streets. “Boxing is great and winning is great, but at the end of the day, it’s shallow,” he said. “When I was in that cell, I thought, “What would my legacy be? What would I leave the world?’”
Proving them wrong
Carr’s childhood was rough by any measure – his dad committed suicide the day he was born. His mother died when he was 5.
He found refuge in the boxing world. He enjoyed a meteoric rise from the early age of 12, then saw it come crashing down when, at 19 with a 40-3 record, he was jailed for killing a kid he thought was breaking into his grandmother’s house.
Now Carr focuses on youth advocacy and a fashion line, Punchline Clothing, still in its brand-establishment phase.