LEARNING to box at a good club goes far beyond drilling the jab or learning the essential skills of the sport. Gyms know that they offer that but something more as well. Alex Springer experienced that when, as an out of shape teenager, he went to the St. Pancras boxing club in north London. “It’s not just the discipline. I came here as a fat kid when I was 13 years old, no confidence, failing in my exams and this gave me confidence working with CJ [Hussein, the head coach], it’s lifted me up as a person and from that it made me want to spread that and give other kids the opportunity because I grew as a person from it,” Springer, now an entrepreneur, says. “Every person grows from walking through these doors.”
The club has a long history and has produced plenty of champions over the years. But for St. Pancras that’s not the only criterion they view for success. “From a young age, you come in here, you don’t even know it’s helping you,” Alex continued. “It’s giving them the confidence teaching them discipline. It teaches everyone that if you work hard, if you don’t cut corners, then you’re going to succeed and you’re going to win your fight. That’s a lesson in life that you can take on and that’s what CJ teaches.”
The primary role the club plays in its community is to be a safe haven for young people. “This is a kind of area where there’s a lot of knife crime,” Hussein says. “The club works with a lot of the local institutes round here, from schools to rehabilitation centres around the corner from here and the local police and the authorities. We do a lot of that in the afternoon.