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Carl's hoping knockout bids will save his gym...

Byline: CHRS JONES

A BOXING gym owner is selling his historic collection to "save the gym" that has helped keep kids off the streets for nearly 20 years.

Carl Gunns opened his gym in Birstall in 2002 and since then has helped with community schemes for kids to keep them off the street.

It has also helped young people who have disabilities or a lack of confidence keep active and be sociable through sport.

Now, the 73-year-old is selling some of the collection he has owned since he was 10.

"I've decided to start selling my collection," said the gym owner.

"I'm not getting any younger, I just don't know how long I will go on for, you just don't know.

"If I can make enough to keep the gym going for another five years that would be great, the kids mean a lot and so does my gym.

"The gym keeps the kids off the street so we need to keep it going," he told our sister paper The Leicester Mercury.

But it's not just a gym for youths that could otherwise be out on the street. The gym is used by everyone in the community, even three-year-old Nancy Jones. "Nancy's great! She comes in and she does the pads and everything," said Carl.

"She can spar, she does shadow boxing to the Rocky soundtrack, she's really good.

"She's got to be the youngest boxing gym member in the world," he claimed.

This, he stressed, shows the importance of the gym because "it's open to everyone" and benefits the community greatly.

Mr Gunns said he was aiming to make upwards of PS6,000 if possible to secure a good future for his gym.

One of the items for sale is an original print of the 1789 pugilistic club from an era when bare knuckle boxing was prevalent.

"It is probably the rarest print I've ever had in boxing and I paid an awful lot of money 40 years ago for this and it is a very rare item," said Carl.

Among the other items being sold is literature listing historic moments and facts in relation to Granby Halls - a venue that was demolished in 2001 but saw some historic boxing matches.

The venue also saw Leicester's own Chris Pyatt become world champion after he beat Sumbu Kalambay on points.

If you are interested in potentially making a purchase from Carl's collection, he ask that you pop into the gym on 275 Birstall Road, or alternatively, give him a call on 0116 267 1494.

"There's some really great stuff, I want someone to take the stuff that really cares," he said.

All the money made will go towards the cost of keeping the gym running for the children and local community that use it.

CAPTION(S):

| Carl Gunns is selling off lots of his boxing memorabilia to keep his gym funded for the next few years.

| Copy of The Ring, 1952, one of the items up for sale.

| Nancy Jones, 3, who is the youngest boxer at Carl Gunns gym in Birstall, and possibly the country.

| Copy of Granby Halls boxing tournament 1953.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Loughborough Echo (Loughborough, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2019
Words:523
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