Neasden coaches reveal their plans for a professional boxing gym
PUBLISHED: 17:17 11 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:17 11 February 2015
Two coaches at Neasden Boxing Club have revealed their plans to progress from the amateur ranks to the professional game.
Head coach Xavier Miller and strength and conditioning coach Nicholas Prempeh reopened the Neasden club at the Kingfisher Youth and Community Centre in the summer, having already had their own operation called IQ Boxing.
Miller said: “IQ Boxing really is Nick and I. We are working for Neasden Boxing Club as coaches.
“We went to Kingfisher in Neasden and said we’d like to take over the boxing club. We were just going to run it as IQ Boxing but then it was explained that they used to have a boxing club before, so we just decided to continue what was previously in place.”
Prempeh said: “The aim is to go professional. We sat down and felt it would be best to get some amateur time in, get ourselves known and build up a reputation for the type of boxers we want to have – those who box behind their jab, are athletic and classy.
“The next step, the natural progression is to go into the pro game and try to make a rumble in there.”
The duo are currently assessing the best location for their gym and are happy with the progress they have made since the summer.
Miller said: “We couldn’t have imagined when we started that we’d have 12 carded boxers.
“If not at the end of this year, then at the end of next year we will be looking to turn professional.
“What we are trying to do is continue to run the amateur boxing and then filter our amateur boxers through to professionals.
“Whether they’ve had 10, 50 or 100 fights, at least they’ve had that amateur background.
“Some fighters go straight to the professional ranks and you can tell they are missing that foundation. That is what we are trying to instill now.”
Prempeh added: “The good thing for us is that the gym reopening has sparked a lot of interest.
“We are getting a lot of people down – some who have boxed many years ago, who stopped for various reasons, or people who are just looking to get started.
“It is not just those in their 20s. We’ve got youngsters, schoolkids and we’ve even got a couple of girls coming along to the gym now.”
The pair, who both work in schools in Hammersmith, are pleased that boxing has helped a youngster who had previously been in trouble.
Shaquille Johnson, 18, from Stonebridge, believes the sport has helped him to turn his life around.
“I’ve been boxing now for two years,” said Johnson. “I started because I was always fighting on the streets and getting into trouble.
“One of my neighbours said ‘I’m taking you to a boxing club’ and, from there, I’m here not getting in trouble. It has kept me out of the streets. I started going to church and it all came together.
“The coaches don’t rush you, they make sure you are ready. I’ve won all four of my fights.”
For more information see www. neasdenboxingclub.com
Follow me @RobBrennan82