Summary: Portsmouth has a history of producing excellent boxers, with its boxing clubs being some of the best in the region. Boxing has become an integral part of the city’s culture, with local gyms and clubs providing training for both amateurs and professionals.
1. A Rich History
Boxing has been a part of Portsmouth’s sporting culture for over a century, with the most popular form of boxing, bare-knuckle fighting, being enjoyed by locals in the 19th century. The city is home to several famous boxers, including Dave ‘Boy’ Green and Tony Oakey, who have made a name for themselves in the ring nationally and internationally.
The city is also home to one of the oldest boxing clubs in the UK, the Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy, which was founded in 1967. With a long list of notable boxers who have trained there, the club has become a staple of the city’s sporting scene.
Today, boxing continues to thrive in Portsmouth, with numerous gyms and clubs throughout the city offering training for aspiring boxers of all ages and levels of experience.
2. Opportunities for Amateurs
Boxing is an excellent way for people to get fit, learn self-defense, and build confidence. In Portsmouth, there are many opportunities for amateur boxers to get involved in the sport, with a range of clubs and gyms catering to beginners and those looking to develop their skills.
For example, the Fitness First gym in Portsmouth offers boxing classes that focus on building technique and fitness, while the HOP Boxing Academy provides classes specifically designed for young people aged between 5 and 16 years old.
Other local boxing clubs, such as Haven Boxing Club and Ground Floor Boxing, offer amateur training sessions and opportunities for sparring and competing in local events.
3. Professional Boxing
Portsmouth has produced several boxers who have gone on to compete professionally at the national and international level. Dave ‘Boy’ Green, for example, had a successful career as a welterweight boxer in the 1970s and 1980s, winning numerous titles and fighting some of the biggest names in the sport.
Today, there are several professional boxers based in Portsmouth, including rising star Joe Pigford and light heavyweight fighter Joel McIntyre, who won the English title in 2017.
Professional boxing events are also held in Portsmouth, attracting large crowds from both inside and outside the city. For example, in 2019, the Mountbatten Centre hosted an event featuring former world champion Michael Moorer.
4. Community Engagement
Boxing clubs and gyms in Portsmouth are not just focused on developing athletes; they are also committed to making a positive impact on the community. Many clubs offer training sessions specifically for young people who may be at risk of anti-social behavior or who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
For example, HOP Boxing Academy has programs designed to help young people develop their confidence and self-esteem, while Ground Floor Boxing works with local schools to introduce primary school children to the sport of boxing in a safe and controlled environment.
These programs are helping to break down stereotypes and misconceptions about boxing, showing that it can be a positive force for good in the community.
5. The Future of Boxing in Portsmouth
With its rich history, excellent facilities, and commitment to the community, the future of boxing in Portsmouth looks bright. The growth of amateur boxing is providing more opportunities for young people to get involved in the sport, while the success of local professional boxers is inspiring a new generation of aspiring athletes.
However, there are also challenges ahead. Funding cuts and changes to government policy may impact the development of boxing in Portsmouth and across the country. Despite these challenges, the city’s boxing clubs and gyms remain committed to providing high-quality training and opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds.
Boxing has a long and rich history in Portsmouth, with local clubs and gyms providing training opportunities for both amateur and professional boxers. The sport has become an integral part of the city’s sporting and cultural heritage, with programs aimed at engaging the community and promoting positive values such as confidence, respect, and discipline. While there are challenges ahead, the future of boxing in Portsmouth looks bright, with dedicated coaches, talented boxers, and supportive fans coming together to keep the sport thriving in the city.