An amateur boxing club in Liverpool is set to reopen at their former home after a 20-year absence.
Waterloo ABC will have their grand re opening on the 29th of June and for former club member and 18 fight pro, Shaun Farmer it will be a culmination of two years hard work for him and his team.
The site has lay empty for years, Farmer was able to agree with owners Scottish Power, a lease last year.
The reopening has been a long time dream for Farmer as he told me, "The club has been empty for nearly 20 years and I’ve been back in the area for seven now. I would go out my way to see it and reminisce about the times myself and the the other boxers had there, we loved that old building.
"I dreamt of opening it again, the area has been crying out for this club to be opened and I firmly believe me and the seven other trainers, who I’ve had go through their coaching badge, will produce champions."
Farmer was clear that his son was a big factor, as he said, "my main motivation is my son Oscar Shea named after De La Hoya and (Shea) Neary, two of my favourite fighters, I want him growing up around the gym."
I asked Farmer what he hoped to achieve from the gym and his answer was simply to get the kids in the area off the streets.
Farmer is looking to use his experience to help the next generation of boxer to come through.
"The pro game is a tough sport and I can tell our fighters my experience in the pros but as far as I’m concerned I’d like to just deal with Amateurs, there are so many tremendous Pro coaches in Liverpool now that I’d gladly see many of our fighters move over to them.
"I expect to produce champions quickly, myself and other coaches have around 400 fights between us, the most successful amateur from our club is Ste ”Tiger” Mathews a former school boy, Junior and twice beaten senior ABA finalist and unbeaten pro (Retired) who is involved, I don’t envisage anything less."
Having fought over 50 times as a pro and amateur I enquired if Farmer had kept himself involved in the sport. "Not really, no." He said. "I switched off, as it hurt not being able to fight myself anymore, my brain scan revealed a change in my brain and I was advised by the board to stop in 2009. I was continually getting head aches from sparring and decided with the advice from my girlfriend, now wife Loretta to give it a miss.
"I had one spar since, stupidly against Kevin ”Bulldog” Bennett as we were working together in Portsmouth and lads were winding us both up about who could do who. The lads got what they wanted and me and Kevin sparred in Portsmouth Navy boxing club. Those six rounds were a little bit of a war, Kevin can whack but I definitely gained his respect. We are now close friends and holiday together twice a year."
The gym reopens on 29th of June and Farmer has details of the event. "This gym has taken over two years to get to the stage where we can open. We have a big opening day planned on 29th June with John Conteh, the Smith Brothers and lots of former fighting friends coming. I’d just like to thank everyone who’s helped with getting the gym back to its former glory the local community raising money, to the builders and building owners. "Everyone has pulled together to achieve this."