According to figures, the number of registered female boxers in the UK rose from 70 in 2005 to over 900 just a few years later. After the inclusion of women’s boxing in the 2012 Olympic Games, we can only imagine just how many more women are now committing to the sport.
To give us just an idea of how drastically the numbers have changed in recent years, the Amateur Boxing Association of England confirmed that, in England alone, the number of female registered boxers increased by more than a quarter shortly after the announcement was made regarding the Olympics in 2009.
Many women involved in other branches of the sport have now made the decision to switch disciplines just to be in with a chance to compete for a world title.
The 2012 London Olympics included women’s boxing for the very first time. Photo credit: Kent Capture on Visual Hunt
London is the largest and busiest city in England and is therefore a hub for all sorts of activities: with over 8.5 million habitants, boxing clubs are having to accommodate for a strong demand.
What’s more, with people becoming increasingly aware of their health and fitness, more and more Londoners are looking to keep in shape and there’s absolutely no denying that boxing is great for the body as well as the mind, offering respite from those hard, long and busy days in the ‘big smoke’.
Boxing is the family of combat sports that makes use of the feet and/or the fists to defeat your opponent inside a boxing ring.
No two forms of boxing are the same so following any boxing training regime means focusing on a set of very specific objectives.
For instance, people don’t aspire to learn racket sports, they want to specifically learn how to play tennis, badminton, table tennis, etc… As with any sporting activity, one style will be better suited or preferred by an individual over another.
The various types of boxing include French boxing, British boxing – derived from fist fights back in the day – Thai boxing or kickboxing, American boxing – a full contact form – and, not forgetting the numerous styles of martial arts – viet vo dao, aikido, taekwondo, karate, kung fu, jujitsu, krav maga.
Martial arts like jujitsu and karate are classed as types of the boxing family. Photo credit: Johnny Silvercloud on VisualHunt.com
Men’s and women’s boxing alike allow the sportsperson to unwind after a day at their desk or on their feet.
Boxers can make use of punch bags to release stress and tension, they can develop self-control to train them to switch off from their professional life, they can learn self-defence to keep them safe on the streets of the capital and they can use training to strengthen their muscles and to lose weight if they so wish, helping them to maintain a healthier body. In short, it helps them to feel better about themselves.
But with so many possible outcomes from boxing, how do you find a club that will correspond to your needs?
London is a pretty big city, so you can expect to find lots of places where you can go and do boxing training or workout classes. But how do you know which lessons are taught by the very best or which centres have the most modern training facilities?
Our advice is to do your research, visit clubs in person and/or ask for recommendations.
To help you out, we’ve selected a few clubs in the capital that can cater for almost anybody’s needs when it comes to taking up boxing. Keep reading to find out more.
In the past, boxing involved bare fists and had little in the way of rules. In some extreme cases, the fight was only over when one of the opponents was knocked out or immobilised or worse, killed in battle.
While ‘street fighter’ is now more or less a term associated with computer games, fights that take place on the streets of our cities usually involve drop outs who have lost their way in the world; those who seek danger at every turn and have chosen to live a life of violence and crime. Regardless of whether street fights occur or not, when you imagine this kind of illegal boxing it is normally men that you think of.
However, nowadays, with so many varieties of boxing available, the sport has been taken up by far more women and has continued to soar in popularity across sporting clubs in the capital and beyond.
Unsurprisingly though, most women don’t tend to fight in dresses like Tekken’s Lili or Asuka! But while boxing is now a gender-neutral sport, the world isn’t quite ready to allow men and women to compete against one another.
In 1996, the Amateur Boxing Association of England (now known as England Boxing) lifted its 116-year ban and allowed women to compete in boxing rings and join its affiliated clubs. Since then, London has seen more and more women showing an interest in the sport.
This is not unique to the capital either, we are seeing this trend emerge in all of the big UK cities.
Boxing is a very popular sport and it isn’t hard to see why: you get to go to training in a gender-neutral environment, under the instruction of a fully-trained teacher, and are taught a whole range of new skills which will allow you to box competitively or just for fun.
In most clubs, a free trial session is available during which you can borrow equipment before you commit.
Many clubs will loan out equipment like gloves to you for the first few sessions. Photo credit: World Series Boxing on Visualhunt
Training consists of using punch bags and skipping (a great cardio exercise), or you might be given the opportunity to practice your swing against someone wearing pads. In general, you won’t fight others inside a ring during training sessions as there is a risk of you getting injured in the process.
Furthermore, when taking lessons or joining a club, you will normally need to present the centre with a medical certificate and become a member of their club.
Once joined, you will also need to buy the relevant equipment: gloves, bandages, mouth guard, pads, training shoes, helmet, and other sports clothing if you don’t already have suitable attire.
If you live in central London and are devoted to learning kickboxing in the French Savate style, then look no further than London Savate. This centre specialises in Boxe Française and caters for athletes of all levels.
Beginners, intermediates and even champions are known to box there, all of whom have fallen for the elegance of this discipline.
At London Savate, you can train Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday with beginners’ classes taking place in Waterloo on a Tuesday evening. In fact, all weekday classes take place in a central London location between 7.30pm and 9.00pm. Please note that weekend classes are reserved for private one-to-one sessions only.
For further information on class timetables, inductions, and what to expect, consult www.londonsavate.co.uk.
It isn’t always easy to find clubs near to you that offer exactly what you want, and unless you are lucky enough to have a sports centre like the one above just on your doorstep, it can be tricky finding the information you need with only short descriptions of classes and what they entail found on gym websites.
As such, you may find it useful to consult the Great Britain Savate Federation – www.savate.org.uk – which lists member clubs of the federation across the country.
Native to our country, British Boxing is unsurprisingly a more popular choice and there are, as a result, more clubs to choose from.
Just some of the clubs include:
and many more.
Boasting dozens of suitable options, your best bet is to look at their websites, read customer reviews and go and visit them before deciding on a gym to sign up to.
Once again, Thai boxing is a highly popular sporting activity for UK residents, and no more so than those living in the capital city. That said, there are a few standout centres with 5* reviews from customers including:
and still the list goes on!
It’s that time of year again where everyone seems to be on a health kick. So if you want a class that will help you shed the pounds or at least keep them off until next December, then Boxercise or BoxFit classes are a fun and effective way of doing this.
Power of Boxing is a centre which offers a one-hour high energy fitness class using non-contact boxing methods. It combines pad work with a cardio workout and is super-fast paced. As hard as it is, it will be over in no time at all!
Similarly, Frame conducts a Boxfit-style class which is led to thumping music and offers a fun but fierce body workout.
Finally, Another Space holds classes that are centred around punch bags but with floor work thrown in too. The class calls itself HIIT.