WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Boxing club is worth its weight in gold for kids

Islington Sobell Boxing Club, which runs after-school boxing classes, celebrates its first birthday

18 May, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Shakur Onyinah, Tasnia Khanom, Chief Supt Catherine Roper, Emily Zadeh, Ryan Rabe, PC Christopher O’Toole, Peter Fernandez, Luigi Leo, Keith Walters and Sobell Leisure Centre duty manager Jesus Vidal

A BOXING club in Hornsey Road celebrated its first birthday on Wednesday.

The Islington Sobell Boxing Club runs after-school boxing classes with the help of volunteer Met Police ­officers and veteran boxing coach Luigi Leo.

Mr Leo said: “It’s a real grassroots voluntary club. You won’t find ­another club like this across the ­country. This is a great model and can be rolled out in any borough if the will is there.”

The boxing club holds talks with young members on issues such as internet safety and police stop-and-searches.

PC Christopher O’Toole, who helped launch the club, said: “We work with the parents, school staff and youth teams to bring an education aspect to the club.

Chief Supt Roper in the ring with Mr Walters

“These are all kids that come here free of charge. We have kids from the estate, ex-gang members and people affected by Grenfell too.”

The event on Wednesday was opened by Chief Supt Catherine Roper, ­former commander of Islington and Camden police. Keith Walters, ­president of London Amateur Boxing Association, presented certificates.

Chief Supt Roper said: “This place is amazing and I’m getting goosebumps being here, because if you look at the range of ages we have got and the range of backgrounds, the people we have got in here are working together and making friends.”

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