Boxing has always been a passion for our founder and Director Kevin Dand.
How it all Began
After a successful Amateur Boxing Career with North West Counties and young England squads in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, Kevin later helped with and was featured in the first amateur Boxing Coaching Manual written by Kevin Hickey who was the British National Coach a the time
Whilst working on the book Kev’s knowledge and experience around the Coaching Techniques for Amateur Boxing developed. He transferred his experience to his local boxing gym helping the youngsters to improve their skills.
Kev left the sport to start and support a family, but it was always his dream to one day have a Boxing Gym that welcomes anyone into the sport; regardless of their ability or end goal. Kev wanted a gym that makes Boxing fun, diverse and accessible to all.
Then in 2013 Kev decided the time was right for him to “go for it.” His first steps was to track down his old coach David Gaskell for advice. However this was difficult as they had not been in touch for over 20years. Kev knew David was living in Hong Kong and after sifting through social media, Kev finally found Dave (now 76), in a You Tube video, refereeing a Boxing Competition. He contacted the publisher of the video who gave the contact details of David.
David invited Kevin to Hong Kong and within 6 months the two were working together again, this time on a project in partnership with the Hong Kong Police Department called “Operation Breakthrough.” The project focused on Boxing & education and was designed to give the youngsters a focus away from crime and gangs. It was very successful and the experience was the real motivation for Kev, to definitely open a all inclusive Boxing Gym.
The first year after returning from Hong Kong Kev tirelessly searched for a building that was in the right location and was suitable for all the diverse classes the gym needed to include. Eventually he secured an unused County building that was owned by Calico.
The Valley St Community Center was the perfect location and size, and Calico, headed by Alicia Foley, were keen to help get the building work and maintenance done quickly. We worked together for months and many workers along with friends and family gave up their free time to help out. Thank you all.
As a result we now have a ground floor gym that has disabled access with toilets and showers, spaces for learning, a fully equipped kitchen and access to a football pitch and green space just outside the door.
The only thing left was now to come up with a name for the gym. Kev wanted the name to reflect the diversity and eventually came up with “5 Ways Boxing Academy.” reflecting on and embracing the evidence based governments points for mental health well-being, which are to Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.