“We are fighters and we will do it on the street if we have to”, a boxing coach has pledged after being told he must vacate the gym that he has run for the last decade.
Nick Manners, a former boxer who once stepped in the ring with the Welsh world champion Joe Calzaghe, says he fears for the futures of the youngsters who attend his gym in Mabgate should he not be able to find new premises within the next fortnight.
The current site in Macaulay Street is being sold on by its landlord to make way for the future redevelopment.
Mr Manners told the Yorkshire Evening Post it would be possible to set up on the outskirts of Leeds, with potential locations including Garforth, but the gym needs to be central and accessible.
He is now appealing for anyone with a suitable city centre space to get in touch.
Mr Manners, 52, said: “I really don’t know what I am going to do if I can’t get premises. I will say go to this gym or that gym, but they love this gym and the camaraderie.
“We are in a bit of a sticky situation but we are fighters and if we have to, we will do it in the street.”
There are around 150 youngsters on the books at Precise Accurate Training, which meets five days a week.
Mr Manners has also trained with world champion boxer Josh Warrington, who often pops in to visit.
“We have kids that have had nothing to do but drink and smoke on street corners and they see Josh Warrington and it is a massive inspiration,” Mr Manners said.
“We have kids that have been here since they were 12. Now they are 17 and they come back and they have got a driving licence, got cars and are going to college. They are totally different kids to how they were and I try and give them that opportunity to see they don’t have to be where they were.
“We give them an education, manners and how to treat other people. They listen to the coaches more than they listen to their parents.”
All this comes from a man who has been there himself.
Mr Manners, who grew up in Lincoln Green and Leeds 9, turned to boxing at the suggestion of his brother Colin, after falling into a life of crime himself and ending up in Durham Prison.
He added: “Boxing was a vehicle for channelling my aggression. I got my second chance and went from the front pages to the back pages.”