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A city of murals: New mural to highlight famous boxers of Ardmore coming to East Main

Drew Butler
This innocuous looking red brick building located just across the tracks on East Main Street will soon be home to Ardmore's newest mural. The mural will be composed of five panels and feature some of the famous boxes who have come from Ardmore.
A t-shirt designed for Gladiator Gym with "Hardmore" on the front. The new mural will include the phrase "Hardmore is best" written across the top.
The side of The Ardmoreite building is another of the city's murals. The primary focus of this mural is the city's military history with an emphasis of the army base that was once stationed at Ardmore Industrial Airpark.
A mural at Noble Stadium depicting the athletes of Ardmore High School.
The mural inside the Greater Southwest Historical Museum that depicts the history of the museum itself along with the history of the land on which it sits.
The mural on the side of Skateland depicts the history of the Chickasaw Nation.

A new mural will soon be gracing the walls of another building in downtown Ardmore. It is to be located on the west wall of the building that houses Gladiator Gym on East Main Street and will be easily viewable to vehicles and pedestrians as they travel eastward on Main Street.

Building owner Garry Raymond said the mural will depict a few of the best boxers and fighters who have have risen to prominence from their beginnings in the city of Ardmore. It will also include a phrase close to his heart, “Hardmore is best.”

“We’ve had all kinds of historic fighters from right here in Ardmore,” Raymond said. “Across the top it will say ‘Hardmore is best” and beneath that we’ll put all of the best fighters from the 1940s and 50s all the way up to some of the kids we have now.”

Raymond said he's been in talks with people about the project and will be meeting with other members of the community around the beginning of February to come up with the final list of which boxers will be included on the mural.

“People are really getting into the spirit of the project, and we’re really excited to get everything in motion,” Raymond said.

Create Ardmore will also be involved in the project, and they are currently working to secure some of the funding needed to paint the mural as well as the installation of new lighting to ensure its properly displayed at night. They have also secured Dr. Bob Palmer, who has painted many of the other murals around the city, to be the primary artist on the project.

“The more we looked at the building, the more we realized the mural would work best if it’s done in five panels,” Maria Wilkinson of Create Ardmore said. “Dr. Palmer has also seen the building and would like to get started to work on the five panels in the next few months, if possible.”

Wilkinson said Create Ardmore estimates the entire project to cost around $8,000 for the five panels along with an additional $1,500 to install proper lighting. She said the funds are currently in place to complete two panels.

Raymond said he will begin discussions in February about not only raising money for the murals but also raising funds to expand and improve the gym itself. In particular he would like to renovate a space inside the building so that women could have their own area for training.

“Now that we’re in 2021, I’m trying to do something for the pride and prestige of all of the downtrodden people,” Raymond said. “With February being Black History Month, that’s when we’re going to get started with a group of people to talk about what would be the most advantageous things to do with the building. I want to bring together something really nice that’s going to inspire everyone for years to come.”