Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Boxing Gym Fighting to Get People off Sofas and into the Ring

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Boxing Gym Fighting to Get People off Sofas and into the Ring

Article excerpt

HUNG around the walls of the unassuming gym above a McColl's convenience store on Lightbowne Road in Moston are pictures of some of the biggest names in Manchester boxing holding aloft their world titles and other belts.

From Jock McAvoy to Johnny King in the pre-war era, to Scott Quigg, Michael Gomez, Anthony Farnell, Robin Reid, Michael Jennings, Pat Barrett, Matthew Hall to Thomas 'Tommy' McDonagh in more modern times, everywhere you look is a face synonymous with the local boxing scene.

Yet underneath these photos, scores of young lads and girls pound away on punch bags at what they affectionately call here a 'spit and sawdust' kind of gym. The names of these kids we may never know. But the place they have in common, the Collyhurst and Moston Amateur Boxing Club, is equally as important to them as it is to the people in those photos.

For the people who run this club, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary, it is not the belts that matter. They are simply a bonus. It is getting youngsters off their sofas, into the gym, and instilling in them the life-skills this unique sport offers, which Tommy McDonagh says is 'the ultimate'.

Collyhurst and Moston was previously run by legendary local boxing figure Brian Hughes. However, following his retirement in 2010, Tommy and fellow alumni Pat Barrett have taken on the mantle and have their own stable of up and coming fighters coming through the ranks. The names Zelfa 'Flash' Barrett and Lyndon Arthur will be well known to those who follow the sport, and could go on to become even bigger. …

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