Boxing club owner warns: I will be forced to close down

Under threat: the boxing club at Ovenden with, at the back, head coach Robert Paradise and owner Mick Rowe
Under threat: the boxing club at Ovenden with, at the back, head coach Robert Paradise and owner Mick Rowe

A BOXING club owner will close his doors at the end of this month for the final time.

Mick Rowe set up the Halifax Police Amateur Boxing Club 10 years ago but says he has been let down by the council.

He was planning to relocate the club to the Ridings Sports Centre, Ovenden, after the club’s current premises, at Ladyship Mills became financially unviable.

Mick Rowe said: “It’s very disappointing. We started off 10 years ago in a rundown factory and turned it into a respected boxing club.”

They have helped more than 10,000 young people in that time, producing regional and national champions and currently have 475 members on their books.

Mr Rowe said that the club had been invited to take part in discussions about the plans for the Ridings Sports Complex but had been let down by the other parties.

He said: “We needed better facilities so we could offer more sessions with the schools sending kids to us.”

The club had planned to offer five-a-side football and other activities but Mr Rowe sais he was told by council officials that health and safety regulations and a lack of experience meant they couldn’t move into the site.

However, Calderdale Council sports services manager Gary Byrnes, who was present for the discussions, said the council was still willing to work with the boxing club.

“We understand the difficulties that the boxing club is facing and we will try to do everything we can to try and find a way to involve the club at the Ridings.

“I will look at every facility in the area and see if we can house some of the club’s sessions temporarily until the Ridings plans are finished.”

Mr Rowe said that the club cannot wait and if it is unable to find new premises by May 31 then the club will cease to exist.

“We first got involved in these discussions in 2009 and I feel like I’ve been led down the garden path.

“It’ll be sad to close it down but I’m left with no choice.”

The club has worked in partnership with the police, helping young offenders as well as teaching children from the majority of schools in Calderdale.