Tara Brady, Senior reporterFriday, July 13, 2012
More than 50 youngsters now train at the gym and around eight are taking part in competitions
A boxing club that was on the brink of closure has came back fighting and is celebrating a knock out year.
Stonebridge Boxing Club, in Kassinga House, Winchelsea Road, helps to fight against gun and knife crime by keeping kids off the streets and out of trouble.
More than 50 youngsters now train at the gym and around eight are taking part in competitions.
The club was set up by Aamir Ali, 39, from Wembley, and his former boxing coach and life-long friend Sharon Bennett, known as Ben.
Mr Ali, a father-of-two, said: “We have shown how a community can come together to save a sports club and help its youngsters.
“We’ve had a great year with lots of the young boxers taking part in competitions and doing really well.
“From where we were two years ago, struggling to stay open, we have came a long way.”
A campaign begun to save the boxing club in 2010 after it was revealed it could not pay the rent.
Stars from the boxing world, Aamir Khan and Audley Harrison, threw their weight behind the cause and the club was given a life-line by Sauerland Events, one of the biggest boxing promoters in Europe, as well as the John Lyon charity, just in time for Christmas.
Kreshnik Qato, a champion boxer who lives nearby, now trains in the gym and is a role model to the younger hopefuls in the ring.
Mr Ali said: “We want to show the community what we have achieved here in such a short space of time.
“This club can change kids’ lives. It has big future here in Brent. All of the young people who come here are local and there is a great atmosphere. There is a great feeling of being part of a team, we are like a family.”
If you would like to join Stonebridge Boxing Club then call Aamir on 07951 425 804 or Ben on 07985652507.