By Isabel Ramirez
A Camberwell-based boxing gym, that first opened in 1892, has been saved from closure thanks to a five-figure donation from Eddie Hearn’s company.
Lynn AC, Britain’s oldest amateur boxing club, will officially reopen after a rescue package from Matchroom Sport – run by world-famous boxing promoter Eddie Hearn – has saved it from permanent closure.
With its doors closed since July, due to health and safety concerns, the gym will be handed back to the local community later this month courtesy of a £10,000 donation.
On his decision to save the club, Eddie Hearn told us: “I’ve known the club for years. If you’re talking about the best clubs in London – this is one of them. Lots of our fighters have trained here.”
The 130-year-old club, which is inside Burgess Park, is completely volunteer-led and unfortunately, has fallen into disrepair. After such a historic past, its future was looking uncertain.
Eddie continued: “So when I heard it was closed I was baffled. You can’t close the Lynn.”
The club had started a GoFundMe which had gained some traction – but nowhere near the speed that was necessary.
Eddie explained that he got in touch with the club and offered to pay for whatever they needed to get the doors back open.
“I think boxing as a sport is not recognised by the government or local councils as something that needs investment. There is not enough help.”
He added: “I’m a big believer in these places and I hope we can have those conversations at government-level for them to understand how important they are.”
Renovation is already underway to deliver extensive improvements – including a complete refurbishment, featuring brand-new screed flooring – which will mean hundreds of aspiring amateur fighters can once again train and use the gym’s facilities.
Lynn AC has been the lifeblood of South London’s booming boxing community since the club was formed and was where reigning IBF world super bantamweight champion Ellie Scotney was introduced to the sport.
Ellie Scotney started training at the gym when she was nine and would be the only girl for many years there.
Speaking to Ellie, who is from Catford, she said: “It was a special moment to know that the place that made me is going to do the same for so many others.
“I was laughing because I had my first sparring match over there and I think back to the little girl who walked in with big dreams of doing what I’m doing now.”
Now a world champion boxer, on September 30, she is off to Wembley to defend her title in a match against Laura Soledad Griffa.
Adam Booth, Mickey Cantwell, Danny Williams, Richard Riakporhe, Chris Kongo, Daniel Dubois, Henry Akinwande and Wayne Alexander are other famous British boxing alumni of the club which has survived various crises over the years – including an air raid on the premises during World War II.
“Our investment into grassroots will extend across the UK and beyond with many more exciting projects in the pipeline,” Eddie said.
Chairman of Lynn AC, Keith Walters OBE, said: “I couldn’t believe it. It was good news it was coming from the professional side because, without grassroots, there wouldn’t be professional boxing. It’s the backbone of the sport.”
After looking through old photographs, Keith revealed that Ed Sheeran’s grandfather, Bill Sheeran, used to box at the club.
Although Bill has now passed away, there may be a chance for his grandson, Ed to come down to the club to show his support.
On establishing the unknown connection, Eddie Hearn added: “I saw Ed the other day – and after hearing that his grandfather used to fight here, I’m going to ask him to come down.
“We should get him to come and do a little performance here,” he said.
Once essential works are completed, the grand re-opening for Lynn AC is set for September 28.