In the spring of 1999, Mr. Simon began boxing training at D.C.’s storied Finley’s Gym. It was known for four decades in the boxing community as a no-nonsense, old-school boxing gym. Everyone wanted to workout there and almost everyone did — Muhammad Ali, Bobby Foster, Sugar Ray Leonard, Holley Mims, Simon Brown, Maurice Blocker, Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson and Mike Tyson.
As Mr. Simon trained to achieve his far fetched dream of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic boxing team, he became friends with Mr. Finley. When he retired in 2001, Mr. Finley offered the gym to Mr. Simon. After three years obtaining a certificate of occupancy and renovating the location to make it appropriate for young people, Mr. Simon opened the doors of the first NOMIS Boxing Community Center on October 30, 2004.