In the UK, austerity and poverty is a way of life for many working class people. High streets, pubs, youth clubs, schools, theatres, libraries are in economic struggle. Opportunities for people to meet, socialise and communicate are shrinking. Community spaces are in decline.
Within this context, Pro Gym shines as a beacon in Foleshill, Coventry. It’s a place where people can work hard, develop skills and exist briefly in an environment that allows individuals to be together. Pro Gym is a safe, welcoming and open space. Pro Gym is a community.
“Sometimes people tell me they have been training for two hours and I laugh because no one can train for two hours. A good workout is around 30 minutes and 45 minutes is pushing it hard. When people say they have been training for two hours this tells me they have been socialising and sharing time with others. And that is exactly what this gym is about.” Chunlee Johal (Owner of Pro Gym)
“Boxing is for men and is about men, and is men” – Oates
Boxing is marked by social exclusion and processes of ‘othering’ especially through gender metaphors, class differentiation and ethnicisation (Woodward 2007: 3). Boxers are confident in their identity, they are self motivated, disciplined and mentality and physically strong. Not only strong enough to compete and win but strong enough to suffer defeat, to brush pain and disappointment away, to climb back up and face the ring once again.
“Boxers have heart” – Trimbur
Boxing is an education in surviving working class life.
Thank you: Chunlee, Simon and the Pro Gym community.