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Having a fully licensed professional boxing gym on our doorstep, it wouldn’t really be acceptable if we failed to include it in our Gym Visits feature.  We have already visited Fighting Chance on several occasions yet they are a very welcoming bunch, and as it turns out, a very busy bunch too.

The gym itself is perfectly set up and the team strive to make sure any boxers get the most out of the facilities.  Thanks to their welcoming nature, it’s not just the pro boxers who get to use them either!  Ron Rowe has recently opened the gym to those who want to learn the noble art, as well as those who wish to enhance their current skillset.  These classes will be run during the day and anyone interested should contact the gym directly.

When entering the gym, Tom Dallas, took us into the office to discuss their upcoming shows.  First on the agenda is the superb idea of a celebration evening to remember the career of Jon-Lewis Dickinson.  On Friday 16th of September, at the Lancastrian Suite in Gateshead, there is scheduled to be 3 professional boxing bouts, several auctions as well as a three course meal for those in attendance.  We’ve attended dinner shows in the past and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  However this one promises to be a bit special with a chance to hear from the outright Lonsdale belt holder himself.

Dickinson has been somewhat of a flag bearer for the Fighting Chance brand, being their most successful fighter since the company’s inception. We discussed just how big an impact Jon-Lewis has had and how difficult he will be to replace.  With many of their current boxers in a similar position, Jamie Jones, Jone TK and Mark White having 9 pro bouts between them, the Fighting Chance eggs are in many baskets. 

They have a clear goal of building younger fighters and creating opportunities for those looking to turn over.  There is certainly no rush and everything is in place to make the transition between ranks as smooth as possible.  With Chris Clayton (full-time nutritionist) being onboard, as well as experienced trainer and manager Ron Rowe, who works as a team with fellow trainer Gary Barr, the set-up is everything a professional fighter could wish for.  So it really is no surprise that the gym have several potential new recruits banging on the door for an opportunity. Without naming names there are set to be announcements soon regarding a new promotional signing and, subject to a stringent gym test, another boxer will be added to the stable.

There has been much discussion within boxing circles on the difference between the roles of promoters and managers but Fighting Chance appear to have all bases covered.  Of course, they have a select group of fighters whom they train, manage and promote yet they offer a variety of services.  The team offer management to boxers with other trainers as well as promoting those who have different management.  The fact that they are clearly willing to work with other outfits can only benefit the region and lead to more quality shows further down the line.

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They have also showed a willingness to work with other promoters in the region, which we feel is vital, to ensure that the best possible match ups can be made. The Whitfield-Cope match is an example of this with both Cope and his brother Peter recently signing with Phil Jeffries.  Unfortunately the proposed main event between Lee Mould and Trevor Crewe has once again been cancelled due to another hand injury to Crewe.  As one door closes another one opens however so now the slot will become an opportunity for another of the region’s boxers.  Fighting Chance are offering the opportunity to face Mould to several North East fighters, with the Challenge belt being on the line.

It’s a busy month for the Felling based organisation as they have a second September show on the 24th in Morpeth. A unique achievement in the North East, as no other promoter has staged two shows in the same month before.  Another statment of intent from Fighting Chance. Included on this event is the much anticipated rematch between Tom Whitfield and Daniel Cope.  There has been much debate about this matchup in the region and it promises to be a cracker.  It is sure to be a stacked card on what is a stacked weekend of boxing in the North East.  Without giving too much else away the future definitely looks bright for Fighting Chance with several other potential announcements in the pipeline.

As we made our way through to watch the sparring sessions, the gym was bouncing and bustling with activity.  Several familiar faces were being put through their paces ahead of upcoming bouts.  Jamies Jones, Mark White, Jone TK and Jamie Humble were all in attendance among others as they look to continue their respective journeys through the pro ranks.  We were informed some will feature on the Dickinson tribute evening and others on the “Invincible” show later in the month.

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Jones, in particular, looked very lively during his sparring session.  He is clearly an advocate of getting out what you put in as he always gives his all and showed some lovely movement in addition to his Spartan-like workrate.  Another exciting prospect in the early stages of his career is light-heavyweight prospect Kyle Redfearn who boasts a 100% stoppage record (admittedly from his debut alone).  Kyle has recently taken a break from the sport after becoming a father but he is looking to be back out in December and will be one to watch in the future.

Mark White and Jamie Humble (left) also shared an exciting session which went back and forth.  Both men boxed in a controlled manner, listening to instructions from the side and looked impressive throughout. White (in the red) in particular has improved with each pro outing and shows great dedication to the sport.  Humble, who has only his debut under his belt, will look to progress in a similar manner to his stablemate, starting in Morpeth next month.

As ever, we would like to thank our hosts for granting us fantastic access and speaking openly and honestly about their plans.  As boxing fans in the North East we really appreciate what they are aiming to do and are highly optimistic about the future of the sport in our region.

Gym Visits: Fighting Chance