Lochend Amateur Boxing Gym is on the rise having already produced an Olympian and both British and Scottish champions – a remarkable feat considering the club only opened its doors in the summer of 2007.
With star boxer Josh Taylor now only weeks away from his first Olympic bout in London, not forgetting Lewis Benson’s recent success in the British Championships, the club is attracting a lot of interest from enthusiastic amateurs keen to embark on a similar route.
Club secretary Jacqueline McCormack admits the whole experience has overwhelmed both herself and husband and head coach Terry. The couple are applying for additional funding to aid the project of a much-needed extension to the current facility within the shadows of Craigentinny Golf Course.
She said: “It feels like we’ve created this monster which is growing faster than we expected. We had plans where we wanted to be and what we wanted to achieve, so the gym has gone from strength to strength. We’re making a Sportscotland application to try to get funding for an extension because we’re running out of space and want to utilise the space we have at the back. Terry has been liaising with builders and architects, and we’re keeping fingers crossed that we can get things approved.”
Another positive has been the momentumof the all-ladies sessions, with a steady flow showing commitment and enthusiasm to maintain a good level of fitness. With a broad age range making their way to the two classes that run weekly, it appears to be a fresh alternative to the more traditional fitness sessions on offer around the city.
“The ladies session has been running since the beginning as Terry and I wanted to make the place accessible to everyone,” Jacqueline added. “We want women to feel comfortable and not intimidated, so the sessions run on Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s for fitness only, where they do bag and pad work, strengthening and conditioning, so it includes all the exercises and fitness training that a male boxer does but without the sparring. I’ve girls as young as 16, through to our oldest ladies who are in their late 50s.
“We have a core of between 25 and 30 who have been coming since we opened. It’s a good alternative to fitness classes as they’re not having to keep in time to music and can go at their own tempo, so there is no pressure on them to do absolutely everything. It has proved really successful.”
The gym recently raised over £1500 at a ladies night fundraiser with the majority of the proceeds going to the Against Breast Cancer Charity. However, a portion will also assist some of the club’s finest male talents on their voyage to Los Angeles in August for a two-week training camp.
McCormack, who is also the ladies coach at the gym, was thrilled with the turnout and support given to a charity which is close to the hearts of many associates at the club.
She added: “It’s affected several women in the gym through friends or family. As we had decided on a ladies night, we felt it was best to run with a breast cancer theme. We had five of the male boxers come along to be auctioned off to some of the girls and some of them stripped to their underwear to raise even more money. It was great fun and all for a good cause.”