LOST fight: Trainer Phil O’Hare with devastated boxers from Burnage Boxing Club whose gym will be pulled down after they failed to win two appeals for investment from Sport England.
A flagship boxing club in Burnage Manchester is to be made homeless after it failed to secure funding for a new venue.
Burnage Amateur Boxing Club, which was first in England to have a ring based in a school, has had two bids for investment turned down by Sport England.
The club remained in an old school building when Burnage Media Arts college – formerly Burnage High School – moved to new £17 million premises on the same site in 2007.
But as the refurbishment moves into its next phase, the converted hall which houses the ring is to be pulled down in a matter of weeks.
Manchester boxing legends Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton opened the new gym in 2007.
Head teacher Ian Fenn said he was disappointed to lose the club but that he ‘had to put the needs of the school and children first’.
He said: “I’d like someone, somewhere to find a space to take them on. Anything which engages people in sports is fantastic and boxing engages a part of society which can be harder to reach.”
After having an initial bid rejected, the school paid to put in a second application in conjunction with the Burnage Sports Alliance which also includes the rugby, cricket and football clubs.
But after reaching the second round of consideration the bid again lost out.
Phil O’Hare, chief trainer, is desperately hoping to find a solution: “All we need is a 50 by 50 foot space to build a ring. We’ve been promised £50,000 by the Amateur Boxing Association but we will need to match that with our own fundraising.
“It’s stunning because this gym was the flagship for so many things. It means everything to this community.
“I’ve got 16 adults in the 7pm class and there’s around 100 children coming through here each week. There’s so much going on.
“This sport attracts characters but boxing can help them.”
The boxing club was set up in Burnage High School in 2007 by former pupil Tariq Iqbal, who rallied support from the army, navy and police among others to raise funds. Tariq nicknamed the club Burnage Against Discrimination (BAD).
If anyone reading this has a premises for the club in and around the Burnage area of Manchester, please contact British Boxers and we will pass on the information, thank you.