Banbury’s Spit ‘n’ Sawdust gym welcomed former heavyweight champion boxer Frank Bruno into the ring last night (Thursday),
Mr Bruno, who won the WBC and European heavyweight titles in a career spanning 14 years, was all smiles with the youngsters in the gym on North Bar, posing for photographs and even getting in the ring to spar with club members.
The visit to Banbury is hopefully one of many around the region as Mr Bruno wants to get back into the community, and speaking to the Banbury Guardian, he said: “It’s been great coming to Banbury. I’ve had a really nice welcome from everyone here and there are very friendly.
“My boxing club is similar to this and it is nice to see the youngsters here. Boxing helps with discipline and respect and keeps them off the streets. I’ve learned a lot from the youngsters.”
And Mr Earle, whose club is used by more than 100 children and adults, was full of praise for how the evening went.
He said: “The place was absolutely buzzing. My boxers now cannot wait for their fights now. A lot of the youngsters who sparred with him wouldn’t know how much of a boxing legend he is - but the comments from everyone on Facebook has been brilliant. It has given the club and everyone involved a massive lift.
“Frank even said he would want a club similar to mine, and that made me feel brilliant.”
Mr Earle added he hopes to work with Mr Bruno in the future, in particular on his foundation to help young people with behavioural, emotional and mental health problems.