In the UK, austerity and poverty is a way of life for many. High streets, pubs, youth clubs, schools, theatres, libraries and so on are in economic struggle. This means that opportunities for people to meet up, communicate and socialise are shrinking. Available community spaces are in decline.
Against this background, Pro Gym stands as a beacon in Foleshill, Coventry. This is a place where people can develop their practice and briefly exist in an environment that allows individuals to socialise together. Pro Gym is a welcoming, safe 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 duration 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 all about.” Chunlee Johal (Owner of Pro Gym)
“Boxing is for men and is about men, and is men” (Oates 1987: 72).
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 off pain and disappointment, to climb back up and face the ring once again. Boxers have heart (Trimbur 2013).
Boxing is an education in surviving working class life.
Oates, J.C. (2006) On Boxing.London: London Harper
Trimbur, L. (2013) Come out swinging: The changing world of boxing in Gleason’s gym. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Woodward, K. (2007) Boxing, Masculinity and Identity: The ‘I’ of the Tiger.London: Routledge