A new LGBT boxing club has been set up in Glasgow, and is looking for members.
Knockout, which is the first LGBT boxing club in Scotland, is looking to emulate the success of other LGBT-friendly sports clubs and has already generated a fair amount of interest.
The club is holding its first training session at Partick’s ABC Club on Saturday 28th November – and aspiring boxers of all ages, abilities and experience are welcome to attend.
Ewan McPherson, who is the founder of Knockout, explained to KaleidoScot what he hopes to achieve and what his inspirations have been for establishing the club.
He said: “I had been attending boxing lessons for a while and while visiting London for work, I decided to go along to one of the London Gay Boxing Group sessions. I loved how their sessions was organised and thought there was no reason why a group like this should not exist in Glasgow.
“I also unfortunately came across the odd bit of homophobia while attending different classes, and while the vast majority of boxing clubs would probably make steps to ensure everyone would not face any discrimination, I wanted to make sure there was a means for the LGBT community to come together and enjoy a boxing session in a safe place where they wouldn’t be judged because of their background.”
McPherson has been boxing for over two years – “it’s one of the best ways to keep fit and learn a skill at the same time” – and his experience should prove useful. Knockout already has attracted boxers with a range of experience, from those who have attended lessons for some time to absolute beginners. There’s clearly a demand in Scotland for a boxing club that can also serve as a “safe place” and a focal point for the LGBT community.
“The fact that there are already established LGBT Boxing clubs (in Cologne, Paris, London and New York) is an encouraging sign”, says McPherson. “And if there is demand for the clubs in those cities, then there is no reason why there isn’t demand in Glasgow! We have already had a lot of interest in the club via our Facebook page. I’m really hoping Knockout becomes established – the European Gay Games are happening next year and it would be fantastic if a team was put together for this for Scotland from our Club!”
And yet, if there is obvious demand, why hasn’t something like this happened before? McPherson thinks it’s simply a case of the challenges of establishing something new: “I think some people may be encouraged by setting any sports group up as this process can seem a little daunting, although I’ve had a lot of support from LEAP Sports and Boxing Scotland who have been really amazing.” He also thinks that the idea of sparring can be unappealing for some. He added: “I think some people still consider boxing unusual and be put off by the idea of sparring. Sparring can actually be light and very controlled, and I would say that at our sessions sparring would be optional.”
McPherson has a vision for Knockout and already has an eye on the European Gay Games in 2016 – but he has other aspirations closer to home. He is focused on the need to craete an inclusive club, which is open and welcoming. He told KaleidoScot: “My vision would be just to get established weekly session that would be welcoming and friendly to newcomers , with everyone enjoying learning the skills involved in boxing and getting fit together. Just that would be a success!”
Anyone interested in taking part in next Saturday’s opening session should make their way down to the ABC Club for 11am, and should bring their basic gym kit (t-shirt, shorts, socks, suitable shoes) and boxing wraps for your hands if you can get them -as well as a friendly and inclusive attitude. Particpants will also be invited to a “wee social” afterwards.
Further information about the club can be found on its facebook page.
The Partick ABC Club is based at the John Paul Sports Centre in the school of John Paul Academy, 2 Arrochar St, Glasgow G23 5LY.