‘Fingers crossed we’ll come through’ - Boxing club’s response to coronavirus

Tony Norman, 36, who runs Spartans boxing group at Legends Gym in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Joseph No

Tony Norman, 36, who runs Spartans boxing group at Legends Gym in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Joseph Norton - Credit: Archant

Running a boxing gym while people are being urged to keep their distance sounds like an impossible task, a contradiction.

Alfie Miller, 16, from Spartans Amateur Boxing Club in Great Yarmouth, has won a national bout. Pict

Alfie Miller, 16, from Spartans Amateur Boxing Club in Great Yarmouth, has won a national bout. Picture: Courtesy of Spartans. - Credit: Archant

But Tony Norman, coach at Spartans Amateur Boxing Club in Great Yarmouth, is trying to stay positive in time of viral uncertainty.

“We’re taking precautions,” he said. “The gym is cleaned every 30 minutes. Every one must be wearing clean hand wraps and we advise them to wash all their boxing stuff.”

The club had a pair of communal gloves that any member without a pair of his or her own could use, but those have been stored away, and members without their own gloves are now not allowed to box.

Parents can drop off their children but are not allowed inside the gym.

Spartans, based at Legends Gym on Steam Mill Lane, is a non-profit organisation, with fees paid by members going toward running the club.

Gyms have not yet been told to close their doors - and Mr Norman said Spartans will stay open until the government says otherwise.

“If it does have to shut, that will be a test in time,” the coach said, “because we still have to pay the bills, rent, water, electricity. The money has to be found from somewhere.

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“It means we could probably afford a month, a month and a half of not opening, to be okay,” he said.

“It is a worrying time for any club,” he added.

But Mr Norman has faced setbacks before. Having sustained a serious ear injury which prevented him from competing at the age of 12, he ventured into the coaching side of boxing 15 years ago.

“Everything is positive in the gym,” Mr Norman said. “Parents are happy we’re still open and with the measures we have put in place.

“Fingers crossed we’ll come through.”

If the gym does have to close Mr Norman would consider conducting video classes over Skype or Facebook Live.

The club opened in 2018 and has already seen success with a number of its boxers winning a string of national titles.

Last February Kai Smart became the gym’s first national champion, followed by Mikie Webber-Kane, Alfie Miller and Louise Smart.

For more information visit the club’s Facebook page.