Gloves come off as London mayoral candidates take fight to Hackney

The gloves came off in the London mayoral race as both Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick stepped into (separate) Hackney boxing rings hoping to make a knockout blow as they continue to pound their campaign trails.

Current mayor Boris Johnson, the Conservative candidate, visited the borough for a walkabout last Thursday (April 5) and enjoyed a friendly sparring session with a Hasidic Jewish resident at Quick Fit gym in Stamford Hill.

Mr Johnson used his visit to the area, which also took in Clapton Common, to unveil the crime chapter of his manifesto. He promised the borough will receive 57 additional police officers to safer neighbourhood teams if he is re-elected on May 3.

“I have protected these teams while they have been cuts in other parts of the country,” he said. “But I now want to go further to help the teams do even more to combat crime.”

Earlier today (Tuesday, April 10), Lib Dem Brian Paddick – accompanied by Caroline Pidgeon, the party’s candidate for deputy mayor - also made his way to Hackney to reveal details of his plan to cut crime.

The former Met deputy assistant commissioner showed off his skills in the boxing ring at the Pedro Youth Club, as he sparred with former Commonwealth and European heavyweight champion Derek Williams.

Mr Paddick said the venue in Rushmore Road, which is well-known for its boxing lessons and sports activities, is the sort of “hub” he wants to encourage to divert youngsters from gang culture on the streets.

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Such “hubs” could be funded by banks and a �1 voluntary donation from guests in luxury London hotels, he suggested.

Meanwhile, candidates for the other parties are continuing their own fights for Londoners’ votes, including Labour’s candidate Ken Livingstone and the Green Party’s Jenny Jones.