Every night in a gym in Sudbrook in Caldicot, dozens of boys can be found sparring, punching bags and working out to get fit.
St Josephs Caldicot ABC opened in January 2017. Head coach and founder Martin Lewis, says the club is teaching the youngsters far more than just sparring.
“We’re teaching them about respect, self-respect and authority,” says Martin. “There isn't much for young people to do around here, and youngsters are at risk of falling into a life of anti-social behaviour. We offer them a safe place to escape all of that, learn to box with discipline and respect.”
The boxing club is showcasing the talent that it's nurtured over the past two years. On Saturday 15 December, the club is hosting its first boxing show which will feature its members with special guests. To be able to give its participants the professional experience they deserve, we're raising funds to contribute to the cost of staging such an event - the boys will fight under the best lights, to the best sound and with the best organisation that we can afford, with your help.
Children as young as eight attend the club. “These kids come to the gym, enjoy themselves and go away with a bit of self-respect. They may not have a great family life, or have been in trouble at school. Here, nobody judges. We tell them it doesn’t matter if you have a degree or criminal record, as soon as you step in the door, everybody is equal. We tell them that we don’t have to be there, and neither do they. If they don’t like things, they can leave.”
Martin says that the club gives the kids a chance to mix with people they wouldn’t normally. “Whereas before there might have been some agro or rivalry, here, everyone’s equal. It helps us promote tolerance, respect… and give these kids a better chance at life.”