Islington Boxing club comes off the ropes to secure its future
‘Relief’ as club based in wooden cabin is granted land lease
19 January, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Reggie Hagland at Islington Boxing Club’s ‘old wooden building’ home in Hazellville Road, Archway
THE manager of a popular boxing club has told of his “relief” after receiving a long land lease from the Town Hall which secures its future.
Islington Boxing Club has trained countless professional boxers including national champions – all from a distinctive red, two-storey cabin in Hazellville Road.
Now, the club that was originally established in 1974 has been rewarded with a 25-year lease at a low rent with the potential of being extended to 99 years if enough funding is found to rebuild and modernise the training hub.
“We’ve almost been squatting on the land, if you like,” said club manager Reggie Hagland.
“This is an old wooden building which has served its time. It was only meant to be temporary. It’s a relief to get the lease.”
Mr Hagland, 26, said the next challenge was raising the £7.5million for a new building to make the club “the best in London and even the country”.
He added: “We don’t get a lot of funding. When we do it’s great, such as from Arsenal Football Club for new punching bags. It’s getting harder and harder to raise money but we’re doing the best we can.”
Mr Hagland’s 86-year-old grandfather, Ron, launched the club when it was known simply as the Islington Boys’ Club and men would go there to play snooker and darts alongside fighting in the ring. But Mr Hagland says his club now has the highest number of women boxers in London and he also runs classes for children.
The club moved to its current premises in Archway in 1981 after a stretch at the Sobell Centre in Hornsey Road. Before that, it was based near King’s Cross station.
Plans for the new building include a computer room and study area for children to do their homework before their boxing classes.
“We have kids doing their work on the floor by the ring at the moment,” said Mr Hagland.
Trainer Zowie Campbell, 41, said the club has played an important role in the borough imparting messages of discipline and self-control to troubled youngsters.
“We have people kids can look up to in here,” he added. “Children can learn life skills and we travel all over the world for fights and make friends. We get kids off the street.”
Club committee member Dony Spiro, 50, spent four years securing the lease alongside Mr Hagland’s father Lenny.
He said: “It wasn’t a very straightforward process. It proved to be quite a challenging journey.
“It’s a massive relief, there were so many potential problems of it not happening and the club does so many great jobs in the community. Without some security on land no one would give us money for the new building.”