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Lansbury back on the East End map

PUBLISHED: 07:13 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:49 05 October 2010

A FAMILIAR name from the East End amateur boxing scene was reborn last week after more than a decade in the wilderness as Lansbury Boxing Club was officially reopened for business

By PHIL RAVITZ

A FAMILIAR name from the East End amateur boxing scene was reborn last week after more than a decade in the wilderness as Lansbury Boxing Club was officially reopened for business.

Lansbury, named after the Poplar estate on which its original founders lived, is back in amateur boxing following its launch at the Chrisp Street gym formerly occupied by the well-known St George's club.

The new club opened its doors for the first time last Friday at an opening ceremony that attracted a crowd of more than a hundred amateur boxing fans, including former British heavyweight champion Julius Francis and his trainer Mark Roe, who currently oversees Isle of Dogs cruiserweight Mickey Steeds.

Lansbury already have 15 registered boxers and their new bright blue vests will be worn in the ring for the first time next month, when Shadir Rahman and Chris Lawless represent the club at the University Championships in Portsmouth.

Lee Hammersley has been named as the club's new head trainer and says that the reformed club have retained all but one of his former St George's coaches.

Hammersley, who made his name in the sport as a fighter for another famous East End club, Stepney's Arbour Youth, had spent the past six years at St George's but admits he is excited by the challenge of putting the new Lansbury club back on the map.

"We now have treble the number of registered boxers we had in the last days of St George's, we have new kit courtesy of our sponsors Hambros Roofing and we've got a brand new ring, so we're very excited," he said.

The original Lansbury club was established more than 20 years ago by top professional trainer Johnny Eames, who currently runs the TKO Gym in Newham.

A Poplar boy, Eames lived opposite the former Poplar Boys Club and launched Lansbury with several close friends, including Chris Mitchell and the late Terry Brown.

"In our heyday, we had 40 registered boxers," Eames recalled. "Three boys reached schoolboy finals and we had a national schoolboy champion in the late Richard Boreham.".

With the assistance of his boxing mentor John Skiverton, whose son Terry is a professional footballer, Eames kept the club flourishing for more than five years, but membership began to dwindle as their families moved out of the Poplar area.

"In the end there were just a couple of us running it with a handful of

boxers," Eames said of the old club's demise. "I was very sad when Lansbury folded. It was our club."

After the original Lansbury folded, Eames moved on to the West Ham boxing club, where he spent 14 years as trainer to a number of amateur champions - including current Commonwealth super-featherweight champion Kevin Mitchell - before moving to the professional ranks a decade ago.

Now he guides boxers such as British super-bantamweight champion Matthew Marsh and unbeaten light-middleweight prospect Michael Grant.

Eames said: "I'm really delighted that Lansbury have reformed. It means a lot to me and I will help the club in any way I can.


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