CROWDS cheered as disabled boxers took to the ring and sparred with their trainers.

Scrappers Gym, off Mead Way, shook as loud pop music announced the entrance of another young boxer.

While the gym offers classes for boxers of all ages and abilities, it has a strong track record of supporting disabled youngsters and adults.

At the weekend, a dozen of the aspiring boxers could their spot in the limelight.

Gary Funnell, 28, comes to Scrappers every week with his support worker Dean. On Saturday, he took his turn jabbing at his able-bodied opponent in the ring.

The young man was full of praise for Scrappers: “It gets you out, keeps you busy and you meet new people.”

Mum Karen, selling her homemade cakes to raise funds for the boxing gym, said: “Gary spends all his time at home on his Playstation. When he’s not out with his personal assistant Dean, he would be sat on his video games. Boxing is his social life. He loves coming here.”

Trainers at the gym took to the ring, sparring against their keen boxing students.

Even head coach Paul Rogers went toe-to-toe in the ring. He said the annual boxing show-down was something those involved in their Agility for All classes had been looking forward to.

He added: “It really improves their confidence and brings them out of their shell. Their families have come along to support them. It’s something they can look forward to. They’re building up to this for weeks.

“The boxers have brought out their own robes and walk out to their own tunes. It’s brilliant.”

Last year, the Scrapstore-managed Scrappers Gym won a £23,000 grant from Aviva, enabling them to hire a part-time gym manager and start work on disabled toilets and accessible shower facilities.

Gym bosses say the new facilities will further improve the offer for disabled fit-fanatics. Head coach Paul said: "For people with disabilities there are so many health and safety issues in modern gyms. Here, we have fully-trained staff teaching them to box."