Jewellery Quarter Boxing Club, The jewel in Henrietta Street Gym’s crown?
by Neil Perkins
For the members who have ever stayed in the gym past 7.30pm on a mid-week night, they will see a new breed of boxer enter the gym. These are far removed from the city centre solicitors, accountants, surveyors and recruitment consultants who form 80% of our membership database. These gnarly warriors form part of the highly successful Jewellery Quarter Boxing Club. The now 24 strong squad has a waiting list to join and success breeds success after an incredible season.
Formed in 2014 the club has gone from strength to strength. This year has been our most productive season yet. Clayton Bicknell boxed to the national novice final, super heavyweight DJ Iwulchuku won the British Universities championship, Olivia Freeman was a national finalist, Mason Passey boxed to the national quarter finals and Jordan Thompson boxed to the elite finals weekend. This is all before a team of six enter the Haringey box cup this summer.
The difference between coaching top level amateurs and recreational fitness boxers isn’t too far apart. Asides from the obvious variation in training intensity, the style and format of coaching isn’t too different. With an abundance of quality boxing clubs in the west midlands, we are getting up there amongst the best in the region. The coaching team at JQ Boxing Club isn’t any different to the coaching team at the gym. Seasoned England coach Mick Maguire heads up the coaching team and Neil Perkins, Jamie Cahill and Anthony Rogan all donate a night each to the squad schedule. Two other additions to the team are prison office Nigel Lakin and security manager Marcus Ashman who each draft in for two nights per week. All volunteer their time for free and are looking to push the club to the number one club in the country. After a bump in the road of his professional journey, Matt Windle will be returning to train with the squad as we set to make 2017/18 our best year yet.
With little fund’s available in amateur boxing we charge the boxers a token £25 per month. There is a small contribution of £200 for wear and tear on gym equipment that is paid to Henrietta Street Gym each month and then the reminding funds go back into the boxers. This cheap ‘rent’ enabled the club to take Olivia Freeman to the Haslev Box Cup in Denmark and provide an opportunity that wouldn’t have been available. This is tournament that we’d like to subsidise more of our boxers to take part in this coming Autumn and with our current gearing is something we’ll be able to do. With the costs of tournament entry, flights and hotels this gets too expensive for most amateur boxers and boxing clubs – we’d like to provide more boxers with opportunities like this. A massive thanks to member and local business owner Omar Ali who has agreed to pay the registration and affiliation fees for next season, this will enable us to take boxers on training camps, for developmental sparring and subsidise them to box in tournaments.
People ask me why don’t I rent the gym for more viable commercial space at these times? Coaching ‘real boxers’ keeps the coaching team fresh. We now have four members of the team who hold coaching qualifications and experience of working with elite level boxers. This continual involvement at the top level will see our coaches evolve as the sport progresses and therefore ensure we can feed this progression through to our members. There is also the give back feeling, all of us where once that angry young man who benefited from or sport. Allowing competitive boxers this platform at the super gym is appreciated by them, they are taught to respect the gym and the members who use it. Despite our boxers coming from a very different world to our users, there has never been any conflict.
Our boxers are required to train a minimum of three times per week, track their weight, runs and box when required. This routine and discipline enables them to become not only more proficient boxers, but more productive members of society. Like most amateur boxing clubs, our boxers are typically of the 16-21 years old range.
Jewellery Quarter Boxing Club is one of the most successful clubs in the region and it trains right under your nose at Henrietta Street Gym. We offer elite level coaching for the everyman and an elite level facility for everyone, we hope you support our future shows and witness the talent we are nurturing.