Romford boxers fight for future
PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 June 2012
Closure of Dukes Hall leads to uncertainty
Romford Boxing Club host their last-ever show at Dukes Hall tonight (Friday).
And coach Paul Claydon is concerned for their future, with the venue due to close next month.
Youngsters Joe Ionascu, Connor Atkins, Lewis Hughes, Jamie Radke and Paul Claydon junior are in action and Claydon said: “We will be holding 17 bouts in total and Hornchurch & Elm Park, Five Star and the Alma will be coming together for the very last time at Dukes Hall for what promises to be a very emotional night for all concerned.
“As a club we’ve depended on the Dukes Hall to survive and now we are going to struggle.”
Claydon has staged over 20 shows at the venue in Maygreen Crescent over the past seven years, including boxers from Scotland, Wales and Denmark.
But after a review of community halls in the borough, Havering Council decided to close its doors.
A statement said: “Options had been considered for each of the four community halls that currently remain in the direct management of Culture and Leisure Services.
“The decision to retain, close or transfer management has, in each case, been based on a number of factors including condition, investment needs and proximity to other community facilties.
“Retention of all four facilities was not considered to be a sustainable option, resulting in the decision to rationalise these assets, recycling the receipt from the disposal of some for the benefit of investment in others.
“The disposal of Dukes Hall reduced the overall investment needs.”
Claydon is fearful of the impact this will have on local clubs and the wider community.
He added: “Havering Council have decided to sell the site and I just cannot understand the logic.
“I accept Dukes Hall is in need of major work, although a great deal of money has been spent recently on the heating system. How can that be financial sense?
“These people are so far out of touch with the local community, they just don’t understand what we need.
“We depend, as do Hornchurch & Elm Park ABC, on Dukes Hall as a place to put on our shows, to enable us to raise funds so we can continue.
“People from all over the country come to participate at our shows and visit Romford. We have not only been promoting amateur boxing and Romford ABC, but the area as a whole .
“Businesses, like the Liberty Bell, will suffer. People use them when they come to our shows and the knock-on effect will be felt more.
“We really are going to struggle now. What we really need is local businesses to come forward and maybe sponsor us.
“Please come along and support us and enjoy what promises to be a good night for all, albeit on a sour note.”