Leicester Mercury

Boxing gym boss set to throw in the towel


- By CHRIS JONES chris.jones@reachplc.com @chrisjones­sport

BOXING coach Carl Gunns is closing the gym he has run for almost two decades.

Carl said his business has been hit hard by not being able to have as many people train at the gym in Birstall and has been haemorrhag­ing money.

The 74-year-old said before lockdown on a typical day he would have between 200 to 300 children at the gym.

Now he said he “would be lucky to have eight”.

“I tried to sell my boxing collection a while ago and, unfortunat­ely, it didn’t sell,” he said.

“I need about £250 a week to keep going. At the minute we’re taking £40.

“I can’t keep going like this, it’s dishearten­ing, but a lot of other people are in the same boat.

“There’s no point in putting prices up either because people aren’t coming through the door and I don’t want to do that to anyone anyway – it’s not their fault.

“It’s just a shame this coronaviru­s has ruined it, but then again it’s ruined everything.”

Carl said he does not want to close his gym, which has accumulate­d 25 awards in its 19 years.

But he said he had done all he could to help customers stay safe and it has not been enough.

“I’m happy to have helped so many people with the gym and I don’t want to close it but at the end of the day I’ve used up all my money keeping it open,” he said.

“I’ve lost the sponsored run and I’ve also lost the schools and the parents who bring their kids every week.

“Like I say, I don’t blame them. I can’t blame people for not bringing their kids.

“At the end of the day I have been a very lucky guy and I’d like to thank the community very much. It’s just the way things are.

“Things don’t look like they’ll get better by Christmas.

“I’ve been on the brink a couple of times and we’ve always managed to come out the other side.

“But this time I don’t think I’ll get out of it unless someone comes along and sponsors the gym.

“I know it’s a boxing pun but I’m fighting a losing battle.

“I’ve got about four weeks, so the end of November and then I’ll close.”

The boxing veteran thanked Birstall parish and Charnwood borough councils for the support they have given him over the years.

But most of all he said he was “very, very grateful” to the public who came and used his gym.

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 ?? PETER FOTHERGILL/ MATT SHORT ?? BODY BLOW: Carl Gunns at his gym in Birstall. Below, with Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton in 2006
PETER FOTHERGILL/ MATT SHORT BODY BLOW: Carl Gunns at his gym in Birstall. Below, with Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton in 2006

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