Winchester is receiving a much needed double boxing boost – and it means more people than ever can get involved in the sport.

Shortly after the announcement that professional boxing is set to return to the city for the first time in about 30 years, came the day the amateurs and budding stars of the future had been waiting for – Winchester Amateur Boxing Club reopening.

The professional show at the Winchester Guildhall on Saturday, June 8, should provide the final inspiration for those still toying with getting involved. The amateur club will provide the means.

Thousands of people start to box without any intention of ever throwing a competitive punch in anger, instead using it as a way to get fit.

However, once people get into the sport and see it as far more complex tactically than merely car park brawling, they are often captivated and hooked for life.

Southampton has long since boasted some wonderful amateur boxing clubs such as Golden Ring ABC, Southampton ABC, Eastleigh ABC – the list goes on.

But Winchester has had to wait for its facilities to get fully up to scratch before pushing on.

Now though new owners and a complete refurbishment supported by Winchester City Council has seen their home at Garrison Ground Pavilion in Bar End Road, Winchester, reopen.

Great Britain finished the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games ranked first in the medal table for boxing and the sport will now benefit from legacy investment of £5.8m to boost the 140,000 people who already pull on gloves each week.

Club chairman, Pawel Swat, said: “We have worked extremely hard to get the club set up and ready to operate and, now the doors are open, it is the best part.

“We want to operate as a warm and friendly club attracting new members from all over Winchester, so please come down, get to know us and get involved in the sessions.”

The club will be open three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays offering sessions for juniors at £3, adults at £5 and boxing fitness at £7.

The club is also looking to develop further opportunities in the future for health and fitness, female-only sessions and sessions for people with disabilities.

Councillor Rob Humby, deputy leader of Winchester City Council, whose portfolio includes sport and physical activity, added: “Winchester has a number of fantastic clubs that represent many of the Olympic sports.

“We have recently seen a new goalball club arrive in Winchester and now boxing.

“Sport is going from strength to strength locally. Winchester’s involvement in sport is a credit to all the volunteers and club officials who help this happen at a local level.”

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