Boxer killed in West Baltimore shooting remembered as ‘extraordinary’ fighter who opened club doors to anybody

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Family and friends of Ernest Hall light candles at a vigil honoring the professional boxer, who was killed last Thursday in a shooting in West Baltimore which injured several others.

Boxer and coach Tevin Harper had his first matchup with Ernest Hall decades ago. On Tuesday evening, he lit candles outside Hall’s gym to pay respects to his longtime friend.

Hall, 33, was killed last Thursday in a shooting on the 2800 block of Edmondson Avenue, which also injured five others who were between 15 and 24 years old.


Outside Lightning Quick Fit, the boxing gym Hall opened on Morton Street in Mount Vernon in 2020, a crowd of family and friends remembered Hall as a legendary boxer who would never say ‘no’ to his trainees, accepting anybody who wanted to be pushed toward a fit life.

Hall’s brother, Joel Johnson Jr., and colleagues are now running the gym in light of Hall’s death, vowing to protect his legacy for years to come.


“This was his home,” Kristen Catchings, a friend of Hall who trained with the 33-year-old, said outside the gym. “This was his family.”

Hall, who went by “Lightning Bug,” reached one of his dreams when he opened the boxing club in 2020.

Trainees would join Hall at the gym on birthdays and holidays, finding a strong sense of community at Lightning Quick. On Tuesday, people attending his vigil were invited to stop in and purchase oatmeal cream pies, a favorite treat of his.

“He never shut his doors on anyone, he opened his arms to everybody,” said Gloria Rivera, another trainee.

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A featherweight boxer, Hall always fought “from a foundation,” Harper, who was five years old when he met Hall at Cecil Elementary School, said. Harper, who coaches at Lightning Quick, described his friend as an “extraordinary” boxer with a “strong wit.”

“Always hands up, always moving, staying on you,” Harper said.

Gloria Rivera, a boxer who trained at Lightning Quick Fit in Mount Vernon, helps Kristen Catchings set off a balloon in honor of the boxing gym’s founder, Ernest Hall, who was killed last Thursday in a West Baltimore shooting.

Hall aspired to be a world champion, and continued to train while running the gym. He was set for a fight in New Jersey this coming Saturday.

He was a fierce advocate against gun violence and sought to use boxing and sports therapy to change city children’s lives, family members said.


“This is not ok, we’re not supposed to be here,” Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby said at the vigil, offering the council’s assistance in “anything we can do for his legacy.”

A “king of his family,” according to his family elder Araf Al Ndee Al Apache, Hall was the father of three children. His family is raising funds to support his children on GoFundMe.

A public viewing for Hall is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 6 at Joseph Brown Funeral Home, and his service is scheduled for the next day from noon to 2 p.m.