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Stonebridge Boxing Club gets early visit from Santa

PUBLISHED: 09:30 18 December 2010 | UPDATED: 14:15 21 December 2010

Cllr Zaffar Van Kawala and boxing promoter Nisse Sauerland check out Stonebridges boxing talent after helping secure the club's future.

Cllr Zaffar Van Kawala and boxing promoter Nisse Sauerland check out Stonebridges boxing talent after helping secure the club's future.

Jan Nevill

Europe’s biggest boxing promoter, Sauerland Events, backs club to help disadvantaged kids

CHRISTMAS came early for a community boxing club on the brink of collapse after a series of backers came to the rescue.

Stonebridge Boxing Club, in Winchelsea Road, Stonebridge, was under threat of eviction by landlord Hyde Housing after falling £40,000 in arrears with the rent.

But in the space of a month, the club’s fortunes have been turned around after:

• Europe’s biggest boxing promoter Sauerland Events stumped up half the rent, offered new equipment and proposed flying the best young boxers to Europe for mini-tournaments.

• The John Lyon’s Charity agreed to pay half the rent.

• The new Tesco in Wembley spent £8,000 in kitting out the club with the latest computers for a boxing GCSE course.

• Stonebridge councillors funded coaches to take boxing classes in schools.

• Hyde Housing agreed to look at renegotiating the debt in nine months if regular payments are made until then.

Aimir Ali, the man behind the club, said: “This is a real boost. We owe a big thanks to these guys for their support. They took a big leap of faith here, but with their help we can make this one of the best amateur clubs in the country.”

Nisse Sauerland, who counts David Haye amongst his stable, unexpectedly offered his support after reading of the club’s plight in a national newspaper.

He said: “Walking around London there’s a lot of angry kids and boxing is the perfect therapy. If any area needed a boxing club and somewhere to go it’s Stonebridge.

It helps their concentration levels which helps them study or improves their chances of getting a job.”

Meanwhile engineers have just finished installing ten computers ready for the new Boxing GCSE the club will offer from next year.

Aimed at youths who have struggled in mainstream education, the course will teach fitness, nutrition and event management.

Cllr Zaffar Van Kawala (Lab: Stone) who has worked with the club since its inception, said: “The dream is to have a world champion from Stonebridge but in the mean time if we can provide these sort of activities it will be a massive contribution to the community.”

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