SWINDON’S IBO intercontinental super-middleweight champion Kelvin Young has launched a bid to bring boxing back to Penhill.
The former Penhill amateur is in talks with Swindon Borough Council to re-open a boxing gym in the area and Young told the Advertiser it would be “a dream come true” if he succeeds.
Before its closure in 2010, Penhill’s Royal British Legion had been home to Penhill ABC since 1979 with Young just one of a whole host of talented youngsters to come through the club.
Young spent nine-years as an amateur at Penhill, winning the Western Counties Schoolboy and Western Counties Junior champion and is now on the brink of a shot at the full IBO super-middleweight title as a professional.
Young told the Advertiser that his daily runs through Penhill inspired him to try and bring boxing back to the area.
“It is something that I have always wanted to do since Penhill shut down,” he said. “I run past the British Legion every day and it is sad to see it all boarded up. It just rolls back all the years for me and brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.
“I’ve always said to myself that one day I would like to bring a boxing gym back to Penhill and now I might have that chance.”
Although Young admits it is early days for his campaign, he says he delighted with the response his idea has received from Swindon Borough Council.
“It all started when I saw some statuses on facebook about the Royal Legion,” said Young. “Former Penhill amateur Paul Rogers said he was willing to help and then I contacted Penhill councillor Paul Baker and he said he’d set up a meeting with the council.
“Before I knew it we had a meeting. I was shocked, but the council were well onboard with the idea and although it is a long road ahead they are backing us.”
Young’s recent success in the professional ranks has boosted the profile of boxing in Swindon and he is delighted to be in a position to give something back to his home town.
His long term plan is to relaunch the Penhill RBL ABC although he revealed that won’t happen until he retires. In the meantime he just wants to open a boxing gym in Penhill to keep youngsters off the streets.
“It’s my long term goal to bring back the amateur club and where ever it is I would still call it Penhill RBL ABC because of the history,”added Young. “I think it would be a huge success.
“Because of my success right now the kids are always asking me about boxing and are interested in it. I’m just glad to have the opportunity to give something back.
“I wouldn’t turn it into an amateur club, my main idea is for it to be a place where I can nurture youngsters and keep them off the streets and out of trouble. Then when I retire, in say five years or so, I would look to reopen the amateur club and by then a lot of these youngsters would be ready to box competitively.”