Last Sunday, I went to visit a very special boxing gym in Finsbury Park north London and to meet it’s founder Mr Sam Hadfield. What makes Caris gym so unique is that it is the only boxing gym in the UK that is registered with the Amateur Boxing Association specifically for the homeless community in London. I was introduced to this project through my friend WBC A Star referee Mr Ian John Lewis, after he was invited to attend a fund raising event in December last year by Ian’s friend & boxing trainer Mick Smith, who had attended the school as a young man where Caris is based. The Big Spar event raised £4000 and had many well known ex fighters, trainers & stars including Ian’s training partner Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham, which was a lovely reunion for both retired fighters.
We went to meet with Sam and the guys & girls who Sam helps to such dedication and unbound commitment for the well being of each and every person that attends his gym. No one is ever turned away from the gym for any reason, no matter of any issue which is maybe going on with any of the people, who turn to Sam for guidance, structure and his expertise through also running homeless shelters in London. Sam has created not only a wonderful gym, which has all you need for a successful boxing training gym, but Caris has a real sense of community which can’t be reproduced in the same model anywhere. What makes Caris such an amazing place are the people who come and give their all each and every Sunday. The support which Sam offers to all members who attend his well attended regular gym sessions gives them a real opportunity to speak to Sam or the other members, and to get valuable help or advise. We watched the participants go through their paces on the bags, ropes and in the ring as Ian took some of the guys through their paces on the mitts. This also included Mark Heffernan, who is the author of Ian’s forthcoming aptly named book ‘I am the referee’. This gave Mark a real face to face insight of Ian working at this real grass root level, which is instinctively in Ian’s blood as a fighter & world class referee who came from a very humble upbringing and made Ian the down to earth man that we see almost every weekend on Sky Sports & Boxnation TV.
Clubber Langley boxing will be following the Caris Gym journey and will also be reporting on any developments with the project, and I am sure you will all agree that Caris is one special place, which is so close to all fans of the sweet science, and to all communities in the UK and across the world.
One last word that I have to mention. When I was speaking to Sam I asked him if he had any future champions attending the gym. His answer was perfect and really struck a note with me. He answered ‘they are all champions’…..
What else can I say?