Micky Cantwell opens gym with help of Ricky Hatton
Boxing Futures patron Micky Cantwell can now add gym owner to his CV after opening Cantwell's Gym in Bromley this week. Run by his son and amateur boxer Sam, Cantwell's Gym offers walk-in sessions for anyone in the local area, as well as running a programme alongside Charlton Athletic Football Club’s Community Trust to help youngsters who are caught up in crime. And Brit boxing legend Ricky Hatton was on hand to officially open its doors for business.
We opted out of the first boxing session with the country’s hardest little men to talk about the noble art instead…
Fisrt of all Micky, great place – how long did it take you to set this up?
Micky Cantwell: ‘It took us a few months to set up; me and my son Sam set it up with Ricky’s help, as you can see all the equipment is Brand Hatton. Hatton Promotions PR man Paul Speak was also a big influence so I have to thank him as well. It basically came out of love for the sport and the voluntary work me and Sam were doing up at Charlton, working with kids caught up in knife crime. We found out this space was empty and haven’t looked back since.’
So how long before you have your first world champion?
Cantwell: ‘Haha. The gym is mainly for personal fitness and fun. With all the obesity problems out there this is a great way to come and lose weight and it’s also about giving kids some direction. Boxing instils discipline, timekeeping and having that endeavour to carry on when things get tough. Sam is the one running this place on a daily basis, I’m just overseeing it and running a few classes with him, but its great cos he gets all the young girls in.
How important are places like this for the community, Ricky?
Ricky Hatton: ‘Well Sam gets all the young girls in and Micky gets all the old men so it’s brilliant! No really, Micky’s a very well known person in the area and its good that somebody as well known as him in the area for what he’s achieved in boxing, is doing something for his community. There’s kids out there running around with knives, robbing and stealing, and just getting up to mischief and the more places like this that are open where kids can come and channel their aggression, the better. And then there are the obesity problems with people these days; too many kids spending too much time on their computer, so gyms are great places to get them in and get them active. There should be one or two gyms like this in every town to be honest, the community will definitely be better for it.’
You’ve recently taking to training pro fighters, how’s that going?
Hatton: ‘Its brilliant, I love it! With promoting I have a large number of staff that work for Hatton Promotions so I still found that I had a lot of time on my hands and training allows me to use that time wisely. It keeps me in the gym everyday and I’m really enjoying working with the next champions.’
Hatton Promotions almost had a world champion not too long ago in Martin Murray. Is a rematch with Felix Sturm on the cards?
Hatton: ‘I was absolutely gutted for Martin. I think he did well enough to win the fight but he got a draw, which if you get a draw in Germany that tells you that he’s probably won it. We’ve got an option for a rematch in the contract and hopefully Felix Sturm will do the right thing. A lot of people thought he was lucky to get the decision against Matthew Macklin and he didn’t give him a rematch. If he runs in the opposite direction again I think he’s going to lose respect from the boxing world so lets hope he does the right thing and gives Martin a return – as his promoter I’ll certainly be pushing for that.’
The man you were nicknamed after, Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns, was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame this week, is that something that crosses your mind at all?
Hatton: ‘Well that’s the least surprising thing that I’ve heard in boxing this year. When you think of all time greats he’s one that comes to the forefront every single time. Such an exciting fighter, and he moved up in through the weights and won titles. The word ‘legend’ is used too often in sport nowadays but it can certainly be put alongside Tommy Hearns’ name. If I ever get inducted into the Hall of Fame that would be one of the proudest achievements of my life. I think you’ve got to be retired five years before you can be inducted and then it would be down to the board what they decide, but if I do get elected it would be fantastic.’
Photos by Mark Eastwood
Cantwell’s Gym at the Beaverwood Club, Chislehurst, is open to people of all ages and abilities. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org