Long-serving Crown & Manor boxing coaches call it a day

Former WBO world middleweight champion Jason Matthews with coaches Bob Kipps (left) and Steve Kipps

Former WBO world middleweight champion Jason Matthews with coaches Bob Kipps (left) and Steve Kipps (right). - Credit: Archant

The father and son coaching team who produced international champions such as Michael Watson and Ian Napa have finally called time after 38 years.

Bob Kipps and his son Steve, who have trained numerous fighters at Hoxton’s Crown & Manor ABC over the years, departed last week – effectively bringing the club’s senior boxing section to a close.

Steve Kipps, who was a successful Crown & Manor boxer before joining his father in a coaching role, told the Gazette: “There is no animosity in our departure, simply much sadness and disappointment.

“Spatial and other restrictions we have encountered following the recent re-building of the club have made it impossible for us to continue there properly as senior coaches in the boxing section.

“Both of us have had great times at the club, involving many major successes – and some bitter disappointments too – and we wish the club and all its members all the very best for the future.”

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Watson, who spent his formative amateur years at the Wiltshire Row club, is the best known boxer to have worked with the Kipps family before he went on to win a Commonwealth middleweight title.

That was followed by three unsuccessful world title shots – the last of which, against Chris Eubank for the WBO super-middleweight crown at White Hart Lane in 1991 – almost cost him his life.

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Napa, along with Jason Matthews, was one of only two Crown & Manor boxers to bring a senior ABA title to the club, winning the 48kg final in 1997 and then, when he turned professional, initially remained with his amateur trainers.

Under the guidance of Bob and Steve Kipps, Napa won the Southern Area flyweight belt before joining Clapton-based Brian Lawrence and winning British and European bantamweight titles, as well as a Lonsdale belt.

Matthews, who became a senior ABA champion at 75kg in 1995, also enjoyed a successful career when he switched to the paid ranks, going on to claim the Commonwealth and WBO world middleweight titles.

Even prior to the input of the Kipps family, Crown & Manor produced several top amateur fighters including Ron Stone, who was once a London Feds featherweight champion and, at the age of 82, is believed to be their oldest living boxer.

In later years Stone went on to coach athletics, helping a young Matthew Chanda – who recently turned over after a successful amateur boxing career at Crown & Manor – to win a county championship.

Coached by Bob and Steve Kipps, the super-bantamweight prospect won two national senior novice titles during his time at the club.

Chanda will be seeking his third straight professional win at the end of next week when he boxes at York Hall on a Steve Goodwin promotion.

The 28-year-old takes on Latvia’s Dmitrijs Gutmans in a four-round contest on Saturday March 7.

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