Boxing club prepares to open the doors of revamped gym

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A £25,000 renovation project to rebuild Sudbury Amateur Boxing Club’s crumbling gym in Great Cornard is almost complete.

Head coach Neil Anderson hopes to have secured the future of the site behind the King’s Head in Bures Road with the new training venue set to open a week on Monday.

It will give a growing membership the chance to hone their skills more regularly in far better conditions with a new collapsible ring set to add to an existing one by October, in time for the start of the new season.

“I would say it is not even recognisable now,” said Anderson of the changes since they closed down the rotting structure, largely untouched since 1958, in July 2012 for the major repair works. “It was damp, wet and smelly, but it is a proper nice place now.

“We could not use the upstairs floor anymore as the ceiling was structurally unsafe and it didn’t have any stairs, but once we started stripping it out we found all the floor was rotten and the posts that were holding the building up had to be replaced with a lot of concrete.

“There was a lot of digging that had to be done by the end of it.”

Whereas before the downstairs gym contained just one mirror, it now has 16 reinforced ones covering the walls with a reworked ring and a host of new equipment, including adjustable wall bags.

Sudbury’s young boxers, who have been training at Sudbury Rugby Club in the meantime, also mucked in by helping paint the building.

Anderson said: “They have all probably learned skills in how to help and probably did not know how hard it was.”

A grant of £4,000 from Great Cornard Suffolk County Councillor Peter Beer’s locality budget, along with £1,500 to come from the club, will help complete the gym with a second removable ring.

Anderson said he wished to thank councillors Beer and John Sayers for their help with funding as well as local companies Maple Building Services, Pro Steel and plumbers Jim Neale and Leeroy Quilter, among others.

Coaches Charlie Lawson and James Bleazard were also thanked for all the hours they had dedicated to the project.

The club, which currently has 15 carded boxers and a total of 60 to 100 training members, including their first female boxer, will now be able to move from two nights training a week to four, Monday to Thursdays.

The new schedule in the refurbished building, which features new changing room, toilets and a soft matted floor, will include boxing fitness classes on Thursdays from 7pm to 8.30pm.

Anderson, who took over as head coach almost three years ago, added: “We are trying to build it for the future to be sustainable so it is there forever.

“It was the best place I ever went as a kid.”

New members, trained by six ABA-qualified coaches are also able to benefit from a reduction in session fees from £3 for seniors to £2.50 while junior beginners are now £2, with no fee for membership and full kit available to purchase for around £60.

For more information, call Anderson on 07508249395.