Boxing greats past and present came together on Tuesday to raise money for one of Hackney’s most promising youth clubs.
Two-time British bantamweight champion Ian Napa and former European super middleweight champion James Cook MBE came to support the Pedro Club in Clapton, which provides free boxing facilities and training for young people in the borough.
Fundraisers raised more than £1,000, smashing their target and allowing them to pay for a minibus for the club.
Cook, who helped to re-open the club in 2003 after a period of decline, highlighted the importance of fundraising events for clubs like Pedro.
“A night like this is just fantastic, because we can get things up and running. The club has no money, so this means a lot to us.”
Clapton’s Ian Napa also praised the event:
“Events like this help youths get involved with boxing and sports, and also help them to get the best equipment.
“Boxing worked in my favour when I was a kid because I had a lot of anger and boxing was a way of channeling it. It’s taught me a lot of discipline and self respect.”
The evening was also a chance for locals to meet some of the stars of the future.
At just 16, Imran Ali has already been praised for his boxing talents, but says the club is about more than just punching people.
“I used to go to the Repton boxing club before, but here we get to socialise and even have a little gossip here and there. It’s like family.”
It wasn’t only male boxers in the limelight, either. Amy Camara, 22, started boxing just four weeks ago, but is already learning the ropes:
“In the beginning I didn’t think I could do it, because as a girl I thought it wasn’t very feminine and I didn’t want anyone punching my face. But when you see the types of skills you can develop by training, and everyone pushing you, it makes you feel good.”
Pedro Club secretary Patrick Sands, who helped organise the event, now hopes to create a legacy through more fundraising.
“The evening was a success, but our job now is to turn it into something bigger so the kids who go there now as 15-year-olds end up as the centre managers, the secretaries and the trustees of the future.”
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