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Boxer Ricky Hatton launches Bromley community gym

PUBLISHED: 12:27 09 December 2011 | UPDATED: 17:25 09 December 2011

Bromley and Bexley News Editor Michael Adkins interviews Ricky Hatton and Micky Cantwell at Cantwells Gym based at the Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst

Bromley and Bexley News Editor Michael Adkins interviews Ricky Hatton and Micky Cantwell at Cantwells Gym based at the Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst

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Former World Champion boxer Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton said the sport was not "just about making champions but making you a better person" as he opened a new community gym.

The legend was supporting former British flyweight champion Micky Cantwell and his son Sam, an amateur boxer, from Bexley, who officially launched Cantwell’s Gym at the Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst, on Thursday.

Unlike a traditional gyms focus on annual membership, the club will offer walk-in sessions and a programme alongside Charlton Athletic Football Club’s Community Trust to help youngsters who are caught up in crime.

Hatton MBE, who retired in July this year and now helps professional boxers while running a similar scheme in Manchester, said: “Boxing is not just about champions but making you a better person.

“The sport has been great to me and Micky as well. This is about using your profile not just inside the ropes but outside the ring.

“I have lived a very fortunate life because of boxing, I’m not saying that arrogantly, but the sport doesn’t just make you a champion but a better person. That does not have to come from a professional level, it can work the same for tearaways, kids on the street who are better off in the gym channeling their aggression rather than carrying knives and getting in to trouble. It takes away that boredom and frustration, gives them a real focus.”

He was also quick to point to the health and education benefits, adding: “There is so much about obesity these days, getting in the gym makes you feel great, you do a few sessions and you start feeling physically fit, you feel ten foot tall and everything falls in to place.

“You learn about your body, discipline, respecting your mates in the gym and others in general. That’s got to be better than hanging around the streets getting mixed up in crime and ruining yours and other peoples lives.

“I’m here to support Micky as a friend, a boxer and someone who knows how important it is to give something back.”

Micky Cantwell, who was a flyweight champion in the ‘90s, said: “I dont want to just sign people up for membership but give people who deserve a community gym the chance to come. It’s open to everyone to try, and hopefully they will come back.

“We’ve got Charlton Athletic on board to help those who really want and need a place to come and get a positive focus.

“Whatever their level of fitness, male or female, anyone can come along and train at their own pace in affordable classes or on a one to one basis.”

His son Sam, who will run the gym while competing in amateur fights, added: “It’s great to be involved, I’m here in the day and boxing as an amateur which is going great. This club will reach out to those who need and want it most whatever level.”

Charlton Athletic Community Trust was also represented at the opening by Nick Darvill, the trusts crime reduction manager, and Jamie Darvill, a casual coach on the crime reduction programme.

By linking up with the gym they are running the first programme of its kind.

Nick Darvill said: “The football club is doing well at the top of the Championship but when it comes to these schemes we are leading the Premiership.

“We work with youngsters who are in the criminal justice system, maybe awaiting trial or convicted. They want to turn their lives around and we want to and can help them.

“Obviously we run many football related initiatives but we are always looking for others unrelated to football.

“We not only educate them through sport but can help with literacy and numeracy. To have Ricky Hatton here supporting this is an honour.”

Find out more at info@cantwellsgym.com

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