'We won't go under' - Boxing club vows to beat lockdowns

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

A boxing gym in Great Yarmouth that has trained national champions is facing a funding struggle as the third lockdown continues - but its head coach has pledged to keep fighting.

Spartans, which operates in Legends Gym on Steam Mill Lane, has been closed for most of the past 12 months.

Tony Norman, who runs the club, said: "With the restrictions, it's difficult, boxing being a contact sport but there is no contact these days and no competitions."

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

The gym is a non-profit organisation, with fees paid by members going toward its running costs.

"We're self-funded and at the moment there is no funding coming in," said the coach.

Normally, its members would have put on a show at the Ocean Room in Gorleston in February, with the display bringing in "much-needed funding".


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While the situation is not ideal, Mr Norman said the gym would not go under and that if necessary he would "dig into [his] own pockets" to keep the place going.

Benjamin Cook and Ian Holmes in Great Yarmouth.

Ian Holmes and Benjamin Cook are raising funds for Spartans Boxing Club in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Ian Holmes

Ian Holmes and Benjamin Cook are raising money for Spartans by running four miles every four hours for 48 hours, starting on Monday night (March 8).

Mr Holmes, 29, said: "I've seen the work they do with kids and thought they deserve a bit of recognition and a bit of help. If we can do anything to help keep kids of the streets, it's brilliant."

The donations would help the club buy PPE as well as new equipment including punch-bags and gloves.

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Mr Norman said: "Sometimes you feel your work goes unnoticed but it is a big part of the community. So it's really nice for someone to do that off their own bat, not associated with the club."

Kai Smart, 14, who trains at a gym in Great Yarmouth, wins a gold medal at the Amateur Boxing Allian

Kai Smart, 14, who trains at a gym in Great Yarmouth, wins a gold medal at the Amateur Boxing Alliance's national schoolboy championships in London on February 2. - Credit: Archant

Although established only three years ago, Spartans has already trained national champions including Louise Smart, Joe Miller, Alfie Miller, Kai Smart and Mikey Webber-Kane, who has recently turned professional.

"It's difficult for the kids who used to be in the gym four or five nights a week," Mr Norman said. "But I'm in constant touch with them, I send weekly plans out, how much to run that week. It's about keeping them ticking over.

"I'm struggling too with not being in the gym as it's something I've done for years. I'm missing it," he said.

The gym is planning to reopen on April 12, as lockdown eases.

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