Legendary boxing manager and promoter Kellie Maloney is to act as an ambassador for a new boxing club in Whitebeam Avenue, Bromley and is to attend its official launch this weekend.
Uppercutz has been set up as a charity to encourage aspiring young boxers to get into the ring, enabling them to become physically fit and to learn invaluable life skills such as self discipline, commitment and respect.
The club is run by Ian Melin of Petts Wood, who works for a City hedge fund. He first started boxing at the age of 16 and has been coaching young boxers in his spare time for many years. His talent as a coach was first recognised by Maloney, formerly known as Frank, when they met at a local gym.
Maloney rose to fame as manager of formidable boxer Lennox Lewis, the only Briton to have been a British World Heavyweight Champion. More recently, Maloney has appeared in the Celebrity Big Brother house.
“Boxing is so important to me and has been throughout my life. It is what has kept me sane with all that I have been through in my personal life. I’m so pleased that my own love of the sport has inspired Ian to coach the next generation of boxers. I look forward to being involved with the club and hope to do some coaching there myself,” says Maloney.
Melin is passionate about the benefits that boxing can bring to young people. Despite limited resources, he was determined to open a club for young people in the Bromley area as funding shortages have forced many other boxing gyms to close down.
With financial support from his employer and from the Kent Community Foundation, Melin has transformed a derelict football clubhouse into a fully equipped boxing gym. It boasts a 14 ft ring, 10 punch bags, circuit training and all the latest gym equipment.
Uppercutz will be officially opened by Maloney alongside the leader of Bromley Borough Council, Stephen Carr, at 1.30pm on Saturday 9th January. There was significant interest in the disused property from various different groups, but it was Melin who had Councillor Carr’s backing because Uppercutz is offering a valuable service to the local community.
“I have been enormously impressed with the enthusiasm of Mr Melin and his team for making their vision come to life. I have always believed boxing to be a great sport, not only for fitness but more importantly teaching young people discipline and respect,” says Carr.
The club also has the support of the Metropolitan Police as it believes that getting teenagers engaged in the discipline of boxing will help reduce anti social behaviour in the area.
Uppercutz is open to new members from the age of 10. Both sexes are encouraged to attend and beginners are welcomed. Membership costs £30 a year, plus an additional fee for each coaching session attended. Sessions are available most weekday evenings.
“Boxing is a very physical sport and is not for everyone. You need to have the dedication to train hard and to push yourself. It is a great way for young people to learn new skills and to keep off the streets and stay out of trouble,” says Melin, who spends all his spare time coaching or fundraising for the club.
“Boxers are a particular breed – you have to have natural ability, that element of aggression and the dedication to succeed. It’s like being part of a family which is great for motivating young people and keeping them engaged,” he says.
When asked what drives him, Melin explains:
“With boxing, if you get a winner, you win. If they lose, you go with them. That’s what keeps me on my toes.”