Hackney headteacher spars with Barry McGuigan at motivational boxing academy’s launch

17:31 20 January 2014

Barry McGuigan at Hackney Community College

Barry McGuigan at Hackney Community College


Hackney Community College’s principal Ian Ashman stepped into the ring for a bout with the former featherweight champ Barry McGuigan last Friday to launch a motivational boxing academy.

Ian Ashman, Barry McGuigan & Michael Desmond at Hackney Community CollegeIan Ashman, Barry McGuigan & Michael Desmond at Hackney Community College

The 16 – 19 year olds who enrol on the first Barry McGuigan Boxing Academy in London which is based at the college in Falkirk Street will study an educational course alongside developing their boxing skills.

The idea is the discipline required for the sport will boost their self-esteem and ambition, and ramp up their confidence and motivation to engage with the world around them.

Mr Ashman said: “We believe that sport and boxing in particular is a great way to engage young people, keep them fit and healthy, and teach them courage and discipline, essential skills for life.

“Hackney has a proud boxing tradition and we are delighted to continue its development through our partnership.”

Mr McGuigan spoke to visitors during the event at the college’s SPACe sports centre, and gloves were handed out to anyone who wanted to spa with boxing professionals, including Barry’s son Shane McGuigan and upcoming star Conrad Cummings.

The academy is affiliated with the Lion Club in Hoxton, and the Speaker of Hackney, Cllr Michael Desmond, joined Mr Ashman and Mr McGuigan to cut the ribbon around the boxing ring.

Coach Domenico Bergonzi said the academy would be a great opportunity for many teenagers: “In a time of reduced community resources it will serve the community on many levels,” he said.

“It will promote health and physical fitness, skills acquisition to individual sports, a gateway to careers in leisure and recreation industries, personal goals and higher objectives to representative honours as we’ve seen locally in the London 2012 games.”

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