A BOXING club is back on the ropes after fighting off closure once.
Sunderland’s East End Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) was left on the brink last year when it had to leave its home in Prospect Row, when the church that owned the building needed to sell-up.
At first the club was unsure if it would be able to find a new club house, but then Cheers landlord David Dulling stepped in and offered space above his pub as a temporary gym.
Then Thompson’s Building Centre came to the rescue and offered the club its current base at an unused unit in The Parade.
But now the construction firm has collapsed, the future of the club’s home is uncertain.
Head coach and club secretary Kenny Linton, 47, confirmed he had spoken to Thompson’s managing director Anne Ganley.
He said: “They said they have lost everything. We’re hoping that somebody is going to buy the building.
“I would love to stay here as we’ve done a lot of work to it.”
East End-based Hendon Young People’s Project has thrown the boxers a lifeline by welcoming them at its building in Church Walk.
But Kenny, who works as a taxi driver, said he has taken weeks off from his main job to make the unit in The Parade suitable for members to train in.
The club, which has about 40 regular members, has been a big inspiration to East End kids.
Kenny said: “It’s all about getting kids off the streets and into the club and teaching them that hard work pays.
“It’s a good gym. It’s got a good atmosphere, good people running it and great kids.
“The main thing that we want to get out of it is showing these young people that if you work hard, good things come and not to give up straight away.”
The club, which has been running for more than 10 years, had just received a cash boost after it was awarded £1,000 from Sunderland Council’s Community Chest.
City mayor Councillor Iain Kay and ward councillor Michael Mordey met the keen boxers, aged from eight to 32.
Kenny thanked the authority for swelling the club’s funds.
“We really appreciate it as we’ve still got a lot of costs and lots of things that we need. All the gloves are getting a little bit tatty and it is all expensive stuff.”
Eighty people lost their jobs with the closure of branches of Thompson’s and sister company TAPS across.
The firm had gone into administration just days earlier, with accountants KPMG appointed in response to a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs.