By Mia.L

Bexhill Amateur Boxing Club (A.B.C.) originally started life some distance away, at a facility in Pebsham. After losing access to the premises, coaches Tony Godwin and Terry Freeman decided to look for an alternative base, one which had the scope for growth and long-term development of the sport for its members.

They managed to acquire a new venue in De La Warr Parade at the eastern end of Bexhill seafront. Initially it was shared with a local squash club, but as the demand for squash diminished and the popularity of the boxing club grew, Godwin and Freeman were offered the building in its entirety.

PICTURE: Nathan Joseph

The club members set about renovating their newly attained surroundings to suit a more boxing-friendly format. By engaging with the local community and gaining status as a legally recognised charity, the club was able to transform the near-derelict building into a fully functioning boxing gym, complete with ring room, training area and fitness facility.

The club’s location gives the added advantage of an abundance of outdoor space. The seafront provides an alternative to the indoor gym during the summer months.

Bexhill A.B.C. are members of the England Boxing Association, which places an emphasis on safeguarding and exceptional levels of coaching in the sport. But, like so many other sports clubs in the area, it’s operated on an entirely voluntary basis. There’s a regular rota of classes on offer, open to all regardless of age or gender. This inclusive spirit also extends to the coaches themselves, who are both male and female, dispelling the myth that boxing is a ‘men-only’ sport.

All equipment is provided by the club, which further maintains its aim of making the sport accessible and affordable for all. 

As a visitor I found the atmosphere at the club open and vivacious, as I observed a couple of red-faced boxers sparring in the room below. The quality of the facilities reflects the committee’s dedication and passion for this highly disciplined sport, as does the rapid expansion of their membership.

Long term member Rian Witcomb spoke with me at length about his time at the club, noting the positive effects it’s had on himself personally as well as on other regulars. Besides the obvious health benefits, arising from the physical intensity which boxing requires, there’s also an additional level of mental discipline. The club places an emphasis on personal development, and recognises the dedication of its attendees with a yearly awards ceremony. Witcomb enjoys his time at the club on a recreational basis, but there’s also the option of pursuing the sport at a more competitive level within the sphere of amateur boxing.

One of boxing’s greats. Muhammad Ali, used to say – “You don’t lose if you get knocked down. You lose if you don’t get back up”. So what are you waiting for? Put down that Rocky DVD, and get those boxing gloves on!

For further information on Bexhill A.B.C (registered charity 1171049) see its Facebook page

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