NEW YORK—Former World Video Boxing Association heavyweight King Hippo opened a new boxing gym this month, saying he hopes to provide a healthy outlet for troubled 8-bit teens and keep poorly rendered youths off the pixilated streets.

“Most of these kids come from extremely low-res backgrounds, so our boxing programming offers a safe, positive 2-D environment,” said Hippo, adding that competing in the ring significantly improves discipline, mental focus, emotional management, and the ability to power up. “My mission is to ensure they don’t end up in some dark pixelated alley throwing boxes at thugs or striking a boss with a whip found on the pavement.”

“Sadly, the majority of 8-bit teens never finish school or advance to the next level, and they end up wasting their extra lives,” Hippo continued. “It truly breaks your heart meter.”

Lamenting that the youths he’s met do not have the NES Advantages commonly found in more affluent areas, Hippo said he believes that at the very least boxing gives guidance to teens from neighborhoods decimated by terrible graphics.

The 25-year-old retired pugilist confirmed that his ultimate goal is to help outside the ring by preventing digital adolescents from becoming involved with alcohol, drugs, and gangs on large conveyor belts in abandoned factories.

Hippo said he has enlisted Doc Louis, the trainer of 500-million-time WVBA champion Little Mac, to help at the gym by teaching the 8-bit juveniles about the basics of throwing a star punch, recognizing fighting patterns, and improving finger speed.

Louis, who reportedly derived his aerobic training plan from a 3-D world running regimen that has helped many youths in Solar System #517 to lose weight and overcome obstacles, said that at-risk 8-bit teens see almost immediate health benefits, including stamina boosts.

“On the first day, the young people think they’re fairly tough,” Louis said. “But after a few rounds, most of them are so exhausted they turn pink and are too tired to throw a punch.”

“Just by boxing for a short period of time, these kids start making changes for the better, becoming more confident, healthier, and happier,” Louis added. “The big blocky smiles on their faces say it all.”

Both King Hippo and Doc Louis said they draw on their eclectic careers to share hints on increasing reaction time, causing extra damage, and alternating left and right punches to the face after an opponent misses with an uppercut.

“The 8-bit teens sparring at the gym are so eager learn,” Hippo said. “They understand the importance of patience, blocking attacks, and dodging. And they want to know everything about recognizing visual and audio clues so they can, for example, punch an adversary in the stomach right when a camera flash goes off in the crowd.”

“It’s amazing that some of them have already developed a signature move,” Hippo added.

Hippo confirmed that his most crucial job at the boxing gym is to provide a well-rendered role model for the low-res youth.

“Now, for the first time in their lives, they believe they can escape their single-pixel homes when they grow up,” Hippo said. “They can even dream big about one day becoming champion of the Another World Circuit.”

“It’s hard to fathom that a couple weeks ago the best they could imagine was becoming a Rad Racer and blasting loud square waves from the car stereo,” Hippo added.