Cleary’s Boxing Gym faces an uncertain future, with owner and founder Edwin Cleary engaged in a race against time to find new premises for his thriving club.
The landlord of the gym’s current location in Wise Street is planning to convert the building into student flats and Cleary says that work could start in as little as six months.
The gym, which has nine fully qualified ABA coaches - all volunteers - attracts up to 150 members each week and Cleary says he fears the dreams of the towns’ youngsters are in danger of being destroyed.
“We are really looking for help to move before we are pushed. Somewhere as to not hinder any of our members from chasing their dreams,” said Cleary, who is ideally looking for an Old Town/Sydenham location.
“My biggest concern is all our hard work will be undone with all our team of volunteers putting in 100 per cent over the years - youngsters’ dreams will be destroyed.
“I’ve dedicated my adult life to helping youngsters and we’ve achieved miracles for all ages in the local community.
“We currently have three boxers on the England programme in the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield working towards the next Olympics.
“Also in our group we have male and female national champions, nine Midlands champions and a great name in the sport of boxing and around our surrounding areas and towns.
“We also have hundreds of keep-fitters, both kids and adults who just come in to socialise and keep fit.
“It will be tragedy for Leamington to allow nine years of hard work from myself and our team of volunteers to go to waste.”
Cleary started out at Leamington ABC as a 17-year-old before turning professional under the guidance of Brendan Ingle MBE in Sheffield after reading an article about the legendary trainer’s individual methods.
Ingle would train boxers to box with their hands down, relying purely on reflexes, only allow his fighters to spar to the body and employ unique footwork drills.
They are methods Cleary still uses to this day and he says it is what distinguishes his gym from their rivals.
“We have over 20 dedicated boxers who work their socks off every day, twice a day, who could struggle and possibly pack it in with nowhere locally with our methods to go to.
“Our gym is more like a workshop, building boxers and providing keep fit in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere.
“We’ve never asked for funding or financial help and we’ve created some little miracles in the last eight years.
“The hard work from all our volunteers over the years is just starting to blossom.
“I’ve had contact with Chris White MP and the council who seem to think it’s a private matter.
“I know boxing’s not everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t dispute it has a proven history in helping youngsters and keeping them off our streets, teaching them dedication and discipline. Something that will help them in life.
“All we are looking for is a building we can call home.”
n Cleary can be contacted on 07723 389774.