YOUNG boxers have been working hard to be fit for fights when guidelines allow – and they are boosting food bank stocks in the process.

The gym has not been open for three months but it has not stopped Holmes Chapel Boxing Club pugilists from staying in shape even after the disappointment of an eagerly anticipated trip falling through.

"The squad were due to travel to London the weekend of March 14th to watch the Olympic qualifiers for boxing and then spar with Islington Boxing Club," said head coach Kevin Brownlow.

"With the increase in news activity for coronavirus the coaches took the decision to cancel this the week before. In hindsight this was a good decision as it was revealed after that some of the people at the tournament tested positive.

"When we cancelled the London trip we also took the decision to temporarily close the gym. This was before any Government or England Boxing guidance and was a tough decision as we had a number of boxers fit and ready for competition

"To maintain this interest and fitness the club started to deliver training over Zoom. These sessions were well received, well attended and instilled good drill and discipline.

"It was noticeable that some technical elements were being neglected so we were enthusiastic when the Government announced outdoor training was permissible, subject to numbers and maintaining social distancing.

"We are now running 12 sessions per week for existing members. Fitness is still a high priority but we are now returning to technical drills as well in the hope we can get back in the gym soon.

"The likelihood is, even if we can get in the gym soon, we will only have a few weeks before the closed season.

"Our collective objectives now are to ensure all the boxers finish the season in good shape with a high level of technical proficiency. If the gym is then an option we can return to sparring before the summer holidays.

"We will then bring the boxers back one week early. Clubs across England are keen to reopen and start delivering high quality bouts – we need to make sure we are fight ready to take as many opportunities as possible and be in the best position to win.

"Until we are in the gym we will continue to offer the sessions for free. Following a recent appeal from the local food bank, we have given the option of parents and boxers providing a donation and have been overwhelmed by the support.

Knutsford Guardian:

"We already have bags and bags of food to donate and will continue this each session until we are back in the gym.

"Young people are getting a lot of negative publicity on social media at the moment. All our boxers have worked so hard, respecting the rules and being considerate to those around them."