Gym fight­ing costs brings kick­box­ing back to town cen­tre

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Claire McWethy cm­cwethy@thek­m­ @CMcWethyKM

A kick­box­ing gym is step­ping up its fight to stay open with a re­turn home to the heart of Maid­stone.

TKO Academy has been run­ning in the town for 20 years, in­tro­duc­ing peo­ple of all ages to the sport and pro­vid­ing some­where for com­peti­tors to train.

Orig­i­nally based at the Pow­er­hub in St Peter’s Street, it moved to Cux­ton Road on the Park Wood In­dus­trial Es­tate in 2011 due to the build­ing’s own­ers seek­ing to develop the plot, with plans put in for a su­per­mar­ket, shops, cafes and restau­rants.

But now, in the face of ris­ing rent costs, the academy is re­turn­ing to St Peter’s Street, and tak­ing over an­other unit nearby – the for­mer fire­place shop in Baltic Wharf.

For­mer English su­per wel­ter­weight kick­box­ing cham­pion, Dave Winch, will be go­ing into Wayne Ro­drigues and Dave Winch part­ner­ship with cur­rent owner Wayne Ro­drigues.

Mr Winch said: “Due to the lo­ca­tion, we lost a lot of mem­bers but we do not want the gym to stop trad­ing as we feel it’s an in­valu­able ser­vice to the com­mu­nity.

“Over the years the gym has pro­duced many cham­pi­ons both in our ju­nior and adult pro­gram.

“In or­der to en­sure the club stays alive, we have de­cided to lease a unit nearer the cen­tre of Maid­stone back at the Pow­er­hub, al­most as if the TKO gym is com­ing home.”

TKO, which cur­rently has 80 mem­bers, pro­vides kick­box­ing classes for ju­niors from the age of five to cadet and adult level at sites in Maid­stone and Ash­ford.

The re­lo­cated gym is set to open on Satur­day, April 1, with classes re­sum­ing on Mon­day, April 3.

Mr Winch, a 38-year-old chil­dren’s res­pi­ra­tory nurse, added: “We feel these are ex­cit­ing times for TKO Maid­stone and look for­ward to get­ting into the new gym and run­ning more classes, de­vel­op­ing cham­pi­ons and mak­ing it an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence and so­cial club.”

Classes run Mon­day to Fri­day evenings and Satur­day morn­ings.

Kick­box­ing gym TKO Academy is re­turn­ing home to the heart of Maid­stone

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