Although we have been fortunate enough to visit several boxing gyms in our brief career, this is the first in our new regular feature. The MGM brand is growing and in particular the Scotland branch. That is clear to see having spent a day at their facilities and speaking to the team.
We were greeted and welcomed on arrival and the first thing that hits you is the sheer size of the place. The reception area is as large as some other gyms. On our initial tour around the facilities we were told it is possibly the largest of its kind in the country and you can see why they’d make such a claim. The amount of equipment is more than any boxer could need and the reason for so much gear becomes clear. As in their Manchester base, the MGM logos adorn the walls and the merchandise is readily available for gym members behind the main desk. No matter which member of the team you speak to, the message is remarkably on track. Everyone involved has the same goal for the company and that consistency will surely prove key, moving forward.
And that message isn’t exclusive to MGM Scotland. The organisation have recently appointed Sam Kynoch as Group MD with the aim of aligning all factions under the MGM banner. There was talk of going to see Johnney Roye in Manchester for sparring and Sam has already helped organise shows in the North West. He confirmed that he will also be heavily involved with promoting the inaugural MGM Liverpool show as well. The move appears to have strengthened the ties between the regional outfits and, without going into specifics, this is seemingly just the beginning.
The gym itself is open to the public, with specific classes put on to entertain and challenge a whole range of people. During our visit, we were witness to a Parent & Child class. The team readily admit that a small percentage of these members will go on to become boxers, pro or amateur, but that is not the motive here. This is a great opportunity for children to get their parents involved in a class or vice versa. Parents who want to keep fit but don’t have child care provided. Quite a simple initiative but one that appeared very effective.
We are a professional boxing blog at the end of the day so let’s get to that side of it. Before we got to see any of the pros go at it in sparring, we chatted with a young heavyweight prospect who is in the process of sorting his pro debut. There was a sizeable amount of excitement around this young man and it will be interesting to see how he progresses. From our brief meeting, it is clear to see he has charisma in bucketloads and if his ability matches his belief, he has a big future ahead.
On the wall of the gym, taking precedence over the MGM signage (sorry boys!), sit the shorts and gloves of Gary Jacobs. Speaking with the man, it is very apparent that he still loves the fight game and is keen to remain involved as much as he can. Over 20 years since his WBC Welterweight title challenge, Gary now imparts his wisdom on others and trains several local boxers. He noted that in his own sparring experience, the two most troublesome opponents he faced were Chris Eubank and Sheffield’s Ryan Rhodes. High praise indeed from someone who went 12 rounds with Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whittaker.
One of the MGM Scotland boxers who took part in sparring was Marc Kerr (5-1) as he looks to bounce back from his first career defeat. Mark is fortunate enough to get the chance to immediately right what he perceives is a wrong. The 25 year old Super-Welterweight will face Chris Jenkinson, the man who took his 0 last time out, on October 13th on MGM Scotland’s latest dinner show offering at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow. Marc noted that he felt he won the first fight (on the Matchroom undercard of Ricky Burns’ WBA title victory) but is determined to make sure he gets the decision this time round.
He was definitely getting some cracking preparation as he faced off against Lightweight Ahmed Ibrahim. The former kickboxer is looking to make his pro debut on the same October show and on this showing he looks more than ready. Naturally the bigger man, Kerr backed up Ibrahim on occasion, especially when he boxed his way into the space. The lighter man, on the other hand, was more than willing to box of the jab and use his speed to get in and out of the action. It blended well to make a fascinating session that was well worth watching.
As ever we would like to thank MGM Scotland for their hospitality and having us up. We were welcome, as we always are, and look forward to their shows later this year.
We’re already looking to do a similar feature on some of the other regional gyms that they have, as well as some of the more local ones to us. If you like what you see here and would like us to pop in and cover your gym, or a particular boxer, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @britboxingblog
Gym Visits – MGM Scotland