Alliance Boxing Club teams up with Cross Gates Working Men's Club
An award-winning Leeds fitness and amateur boxing club which trains dozens of youngsters in east Leeds is set to team up with a working men's club after outgrowing its current gym.
Alliance Boxing Club in Cross Gates has become a major community hub since it was launched in premises on Marshall Terrace three-and-a-half-years-ago.
The club, which won the coach participation award at the Leeds Sports Award in 2018, also stages community health and fitness classes alongside boxing training.
Now gym owners and retired boxers Graham Mattison, 39, and Sam Smith, 40, are seeking to expand and want to create a bigger new gym on the first floor of Cross Gates Working Men's Club.
They have launched a fundraising drive to raise cash to help convert the former snooker room at the club.
They hope to move out of the current premises and in to Cross Gates Working Men's Club over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
Graham said: "We are not just a boxing gym, we are working with the local community to help reduce anti social behaviour by giving young people opportunities to get fit and or learn boxing and become part of a community club."
Graham and Sam are two of seven qualified boxing coaches at the gym, which is used by around 150 people.
The other coaches are Mark Judge, Paul Guant, Stuart Blamire, Linda Walker and Craig Greenhough.
Graham is a former heavyweight world champion powerlifter and a European Boxing Federation northern area boxing champion.
Sam is a European Boxing Federation British commonwealth champion and northern area champion.
Graham and Sam, who were school friends at John Smeaton High School in Seacroft, opened the gym in March 2016 and the new club Alliance Boxing opened that June.
They also set up an amateur boxing club and now have 15 amateur boxers fighting on the England Boxing circuit.
Graham said: "We have outgrown the current premises and have had to turn down opportunities of working with local schools due to restricted opening hours.
"This costs money and we only have so much funds and not enough to pay for it all, this is why we have created a public funding page.
"We estimate the works will cost around £12, 000 and we are £7, 000 short. Any help towards this would be much appreciated."
Ken Prudhoe, president of Cross Gates WMC, said: "I think it is great for Cross Gates Working Men's Club. We need to go forward and this is one way of doing it.
"Pubs and clubs are all suffering and this is another way of getting a bit of income for the club and getting some kids off the street."
Click here to go to the boxing club's gofundme appeal page.