By Ryan Waugh: Tucked away in Holyrood Business Park, lies a boxing gym with a distinction.
This is no ordinary gymnasium and is owned and mastered by no run of the mill guy, as former British ABA lightweight champion, Bradley Welsh is the man in command.
The Amateur Boxing Club was first opened on the 11th of November 2005 by arguably Scotland’s finest ever boxer to enter the ring, in former WBA lightweight champion, Ken Buchanan.
The philosophy for owner Welsh is not to create future boxing champions but to get as many people as possible involved in boxing and enjoy improving their fitness at the same time. With boxing embedded in his DNA since early childhood, 40-year-old Welsh said: “Boxing is the best sport in the world and I want to use all my experiences, wisdom and knowledge to good affect and we have a good mix in here to be able to implement this.”
This is not just a ploy to get young men and women from broken backgrounds or rundown council estates into the gym but to get a good blend of people from all walks of life to train and spar together in Edinburgh’s brightest boxing gymnasium.
People from students to professionals are using the gymnasium as a way of getting in shape, losing weight and having more self-esteem about themselves.
The ethos that ex-professional Welsh applies is unique to say the least, he lets the boxers find them true selves while dreaming about the day when they may stand in the ring ready to do battle with some of the modern day greats, if ultimately, that’s their true life purpose.
He stresses this is of paramount importance and said: “Self-knowledge is so important, we let them find the way for themselves, we can help them and coach them but at the end of the day you also have to have it.”
Any new participant who enters the Holyrood venue is treated equally the same as the men or women who have been a regular for years, but also more importantly, respected.
The rule is not to start off with running exercises or skipping ropes but to get them on the bags or shadow boxing from the off and learn the basic skills of an amateur boxer. This is something that the Scotsman confirms, is mandatory.
However, more intriguing is the fact that some of Welsh’s basic principles include training all boxers to be switch hitters instead of being an orthodox or a southpaw. This is something that the owner believes will make them a more accomplished boxer and he also mentors his boxers to keep their gloves held up at all times, this is a must.
Currently, Welsh has three boxers who are on the fringe of turning professional and if they decide to make that transition, Welsh will be looking to take his professional coaching badges as soon as possible and he will then train them up to become competent professionals.
With Kenny Anderson and Alex Arthur already rebuffed by Welsh, this would be a new venture to have professional boxers training on a daily basis at the Holyrood gym.
With up to 300 people using the boxing gym a week in the summer and 500 a week in the winter this is a club that has developed extremely quickly and remarkably by one man, who has a genuine passion for boxing and his club, is a not run for profit establishment..
A former member of Hibernian FC’s Capital City Service crew and a stint at Her Majesty’s pleasure in his early twenties, Welsh has eradicated his past misdemeanours and has taken the full path to redemption. He has put his boxing knowledge, life experiences and wisdom into amateur boxing with incredible enthusiasm.
September 27, 2011