News: Frazier’s ‘Golden Girl’ Recruited By London Gym; Kerry Kayes Gets UKBFF Achievement Award

Women’s boxing has justifiably been receiving a lot of attention recently, firstly with the announcement that it will be included in the London Olympics in 2012 and then the first live broadcast of an all female professional bout, between Big Brother star Angel ‘The Artist’ McKenzie and Lana Cooper, on British network television. In some ways it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Boxing gyms up and down the country are suddenly beginning to take female participation in the sport seriously.. What may surprise some though is that there is a gym in London that not only has actively supported women’s boxing but has also been training female fighters for a number of years.

The gym in question, Rooney’s Boxing Gym, formerly Gleason’s London, has had many of the best known female boxers, including five time World Champion, the late, great Gisselle Salandy, Laura Saperstein, Angel ‘The Artist’ McKenzie, Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston etc, train at their world class facility close to the famous London landmark, Tower Bridge.

Now gym owner, top Irish boxing trainer and manager, John Rooney Jnr. has taken his commitment to women’s fitness and boxing a step further by adding a female personal trainer to his already exceptional coaching team, which is headed up by Great Britain’s most successful coach ever, Terry Edwards MBE. In keeping with the high standards he has set for his flagship gym, John Rooney Jnr. has recruited none other than the aforementioned Marianne Marston.

Going by the ring name 'Golden Girl', Marianne, a prodigy of the legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World Smokin’ Joe Frazier and Cruiserweight Champion of the World Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, has spent extended periods of time in America being coached by some of the biggest names in the sport including Smokin' Joe Frazier, who is credited with discovering this major talent, and his son Marvis at their landmark North Philadelphia gym until it closed early in 2008. She has also had the privilege of being personally coached by ‘Trainer of the Year’ Freddie Roach at his Wild Card gym in LA and Francisco Mendez at his NYC gym when she spent time in those cities.

Marianne, who is trained in London by Terry Edwards MBE, and John Rooney Jnr., is part of Cruiserweight World Champion Steve 'USS' Cunningham's professional boxing team and, when in America, is trained by Steve himself and famed female coach Shar'ron Baker at the James Shuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia.

The training techniques of the world class coaches, and those of her London based conditioning coach Choleton Senior, Marianne has trained under have clearly rubbed off on her. Her transition to coaching has been highly successful and has led to her devising various boxing based fitness programmes, to suit people of all levels of proficiency. In addition to personal one-2-one training Marianne has recently started offering boxing based fitness classes for women.

The classes Marianne has developed, loosely termed as Boxercise but not to be confused with the basic ‘glove wearing’ aerobic classes of that name offered by general fitness centres, feature a combination of core conditioning exercises and genuine boxing techniques.

Following one of these classes Marianne briefly spoke of her new role as a trainer. “I feel honoured that a great coach like John (Rooney) feels that I have what it takes to be one of his trainers. I mean, he’s trained no less than 8 World Champions and has attracted top boxing coaches, such as Terry Edwards, Darren Hamilton, Ben Day, Karol Ozimkowski and Ben Doughty, for his gym. To be considered good enough to be part of such a great coaching team is a true honour.

I am so used to being the pupil that it felt a little strange at first, being the teacher, but now I’m in the swing of things I’m really enjoying every minute. I remember what it was like when I first started out and can relate to what my clients are going through. I must admit I do get a kick out of seeing someone I’m working with develop, it makes me really pleased for them, and proud at the same time.

I also feel that it is helping me with my own boxing training. This may sound strange but I find that I am now more analytical on the ring-craft and boxing technique due to this. I honestly believe that this is helping me to be a more technically minded fighter.”

On the subject of Marianne’s boxing career, if all goes according to plan British boxing fans should see her in action later this year on the undercard of Hammerin’ Hank Lundy’s UNBC Light Welterweight title defence at the Trans-Atlantic Challenge event in London and American fans will get the chance to see her early in 2010 when she will be on the undercard of Brian ‘Bionic Bull’ Cohen’s WBC Continental Americas title defence in Philadelphia.

Besides those times Marianne is in training camp or competing she will be available at Rooney’s Boxing Gym for personal one-2-one training (male or female) and her women only boxing fitness classes are on Tuesday (7.30pm), Wednesday (5.30pm), Thursday (7.30pm) and Saturday (2.00pm).

Rooney’s Boxing Gym, Arch 895/896 Holyrood Street, London SE1 2EL. Tel: 020 7403 6113 see for further details.

Kerry Kayes Gets UKBFF Achievement Award

Kerry Kayes, 59, was presented with the UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (UKBFF) Achievement Award at UKBFF British Championships finals in Nottingham on October 18th, 2009. The award was “in recognition for his passion, commitment and tireless, work towards bodybuilding and fitness in the UK.”

Kayes started his bodybuilding career in 1967. He reached the peak of his competitive career in 1994 when he became the EFBB (later UKBFF) British Champion. He has been a member of the EFBB (UKBFF) executive committee for 15 years and in 1998 he founded CNP Professional, a sports nutrition company, to supply athletes with the highest quality and most effective sports supplements possible.

“This is a very special award,” explains William Tierney, President of the UKBFF. “It is the equivalent of an Oscar in the bodybuilding world. It’s to honour the people who work tirelessly to promote the sport of bodybuilding and that is certainly true of Kerry. He is passionate about bodybuilding and gives his time freely to help those involved in the sport both here in the UK and abroad.”

“It was an honour to receive this award,” says Kayes. “Bodybuilding and sport are my life. Through CNP I’ve been able to sponsor and encourage sports people, including amateurs and youngsters just starting out.”

In the bodybuilding world Kayes has offered advice to champions such as Rob Hope, John Hodgson, Ernie Taylor, Dorian Yates, Eddie Abbew, Vicky McCann, Marina Cornwall, Dawn Louise Adams and many more professionals in the UK and USA.

His dietary expertise has established him as the ‘man in the know’ to professional bodybuilders worldwide as well as sports people as varied as boxers, footballers, endurance athletes, skiers, strongmen, UFC fighters and darts players. Kayes has used bodybuilding principles to formulate muscle recovery supplements and regimes to help athletes across the different disciplines, age groups and genders.

This is the third UKBFF Achievement Award to be presented. Previous winners were Sugar Christopher in 2007 and Diane Bennett in 2008.

CNP Professional is one of the UK's leading sports nutrition specialist companies. For more information visit, or call +44 (0) 161 320 1212 for sports nutrition advice and +44 (0) 161 320 8145 for sales.

Article posted on 22.10.2009

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