In the heart of Kings Heath lies one of the most famous and successful amateur boxing clubs in the country.
SaintsTV spoke to James Conway, head coach at the club, about the talent that comes through the club.
“We have boxers at the moment coming from London, Cambridge, Leicester, Manchester… so nationally we’ve got a fantastic reputation and that comes from the success we’ve had in making champions. Last year, we had 13 schoolboy champions of the area, and 3 national champions - all of whom went on to box for England.”
Despite the success of the club in the ring, Kings Heath Boxing Club remains an unknown to much of Northampton Town.
“A few months ago we were expecting a visitor who didn’t know where we were based, so he asked a lady who lived across the road from the gym where the boxing club was - and she didn’t even know we were here! That’s the kind of thing we’re up against.”
Despite their reputation as a gym for elite level amateur boxers, James is keen to state how much of a role he believes the club can have within the community.
“We’ve spoken to the counsellors and the perception within Kings Heath and Northampton is that we are an elite gym, and that we don’t accept people from the community. While this may have been true at times because we didn’t have the time or the space to help out, times have changed and we really want to go down that road.
“In the future, the club would love to have more of a role in the community. We’re aware that a lot of our boxers travel to get here, and we would love to have more local boxers fighting for the gym.
It is obvious how much the important people at the club are desperate to help the local community, with hundreds of ideas of how to use the club’s space best.
“We’d love to run a number of different sessions for youngsters, beginner classes, female only sessions, even use the club as a drop in point for Mums ’n’ Tots groups - these are just some of the things that we want to do to help the community, rather than have the building sat empty all day until the evening sessions begin.
However, when the club was moved to it’s current location, the building had stood as a vandalised, mistreated youth centre, and the evidence of its maltreatment is still visible.
“For us to move forward with the plans we’d like to implement, we really need to get our facilities up and running and in line with where we want them to be, and what they should be. At the moment, our toilet facilities just wouldn’t be able to cope with members of the public coming in and using them. Like much of the building, they’re just too old fashioned and difficult to keep clean.
“The windows are still smashed, as they were when we moved in. The windows, the doors, the fire exits and the toilets all really need a big upgrade before we can start inviting members of the public in.
“Hopefully, with our partnership with the Hitz Programme and the Northampton Saints, we can generate a little bit of interest and help turn this place in to the hub of the community it should be.”
If you think you could help, even just by giving an hour on a Saturday, please email [email protected] to find out how you can help.