OAKLEAF Amateur Boxing Club Secretary, Eugene O’Kane believes the club’s impressive new facilities put it on a par with some of the best boxing gyms in Ireland.
The club’s new premises at Rath Mor Business Park were officially opened by former IBF world cruiserweight champion, Glenn McCrory on Wednesday night.
There was a large turnout which included former European light-welterweight champion, Paul McCloskey and notable ex-St Joseph’s ABC and Ring ABC clubmen, Liam McLaughlin, Mark Owens and Damien McDermott.
It’s the third home of Oakleaf ABC since its formation in 1992 and O’Kane was delighted to get the club up and running again after being ‘down and out’ for the past five months since the closure of the Brandywell Sports Centre. The club’s first gym, which was founded in 1992, was located in Meenan Square where they remained for three years before moving to Brandywell Sports Centre under the auspices of Derry City Council.
And now its new Creggan home is ‘second to none’ according to O’Kane and a timely move as they prepare to celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
“We lost four or five months last year due to the Brandywell Sports Centre’s closure,” explained O’Kane.
We were down and out but thankfully we now have these new premises which are second to none and probably among the best boxing gyms in Ireland.Eugene O’Kane
“But we have to thank Derry and Strabane District Council and particularly Steve Setterfield and Barry O’Hagan who have been more than helpful in getting the club up and running again.
“We were down and out but thankfully we now have these new premises which are second to none and probably among the best boxing gyms in Ireland.”
And O’Kane was grateful to Sky Sports boxing pundit, McCrory for taking time out to open the gym and pose for photographs with the large attendance.
“The night went very well,” he added. “There was a big turnout to welcome Glenn McCrory and his partner, Nicola. “It was a great night for the club and Glenn was a real gentleman. He posed for photographs and signed autographs and had time for everyone who approached him.
“He’s very down to earth and it was a real coup for the club to have him there to formally open the new premises. He’s a frequent visitor to Derry and, indeed, Donegal where his partner is from and he’s an excellent ambassador for boxing.
McCrory will be at The Bentley Bar tomorrow evening for a book signing to promote his highly acclaimed autobiography ‘Carrying David’. The signing will be followed by a question and answer session hosted by Box Nation’s John Rawlings.
Oak Leaf Amateur Boxing Club will open for business on August 22nd next. Times for seniors and carded boxers are: Monday 6.30p.m.; Tuesday 7 p.m. - 8.30 p.m.; Wednesday 6.30 p.m.; Thursday 7 p.m. - 8.30 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. Classes for juniors (seven to 10 year-olds) are; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
All new members welcome. Registration taken from Monday, August 22nd. Junior classes begin on Tuesday, August 23rd.