Hamburg Lions Club

From left: Photographer Jeff Julian, Hamburg Lions Club President Wade Schreffler, and care take manager Mick Stefanek.

Hamburg Lions Club received a visit from two representatives from Fighters Heaven, talking about the camp’s history and the new owner’s desire to keep it running.

If you lived around here in the 1970s, you would have herd of the famous boxer Muhammad Ali. But did you know that up in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, Ali had a camp called Fighters Heaven. He would train there for most of his upcoming fights. A man by the name of Gene Kilroy grew up in this area and was Ali's right hand man. And he thought that it would be a good place to train instead of the city. Kilroy was right and Ali loved the idea. Ali purchased the land around 1972. He wanted log cabins built on it and Kilroy with his connections got a road built. They found a local builder from Hamburg, Glenn B. Miller and in one and a half years Fighters Heaven was completed. There are eight cabins, a kitchen, two bunkhouses, a gym that housed a boxing ring, among others.

Fighters Heaven as of today is owned by Mike Madden, son of one-time NFL Raiders coach and Monday night football announcer John Madden. Madden purchased the site in July 2016 and his goal is to preserve this pristine piece of history in Schuylkill County. Mike Madden met Muhammad Ali in the 1980s while in Vegas. Ali passed away on June 3, 2016.

Fighters Heaven will be open to the public as a museum in May. They are hoping people would like to come see the rich history of this man and his career. School field trips are welcome, as well as organizations to host meetings. Or just make a family trip of the visit, you will not be disappointed. My family went to visit it and we had a fun and historical time.

For more information call caretaker Mick Stefanek at 570-968-2961 or email

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