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Want national appeal, with hyperlocal feels? Choose Bronx.

The gloves are off. As you're here, likely you'll already know about the stress-busting, full-body workout potential of boxing. Not only that, but of Bronx too: a flagship jet-black brand new gym, going one step beyond in Camberwell.

Inside these walls, sweet science meets slick conditioning. How pro can you go? From kids to Kings, teens to Queens, the embrace is strong. Let's put paid to any idea; you need only superhuman gifts to set foot ringside.

Classes range from structured to freestyle and as intense as you like. A month or so ago, I was virtually just some naysaying couch potato, myself: the word canvas almost entirely alien, a world away from much impressive fancy footwork and reassuring co-ordinations I've seen since.

Bronx boxing gym showing punch bags and boxing equipment with the Bronx logo on the wall above the full length mirrors

Meeting Marnie

On the first day of meeting a by-now familiar face of Marnie Swindells, I'd already taken private vows not to overly sweat in earnest combat.

Hopefully, just check things out and make off with a cheeky photo memento. But guess what? No chance. My initial stance soon melted away along with any anti-fighting inhibitions.

Next thing, Marnie's kicking my bedraggled Bank Holiday backside against a busy beep-rounds interval timer, reminding me at the session: no coasting, join in! What's more, Bronx is somewhere I already casually call home; I even got wrist wraps on my bedside table.

Marnie Swindells wearing a black Adidas t-shirt wearing black boxing gloves punching a punch bag

The ring loves an underdog; that's me in many ways. I've discovered bespoke bag drills to suit specific demands that come with my Cerebral Palsy, a motion-limiting condition. But happily, not a no-go here.

Bronx breaks barriers, pushing even my pronounced boundaries: "There's no reason why you can't box", says coach, Michael Harris. He'd later have me shouting material arts catchphrases at the top of my lungs in an endorphin-filled exhalation, entering a giddy flow state. We added some two-punch variation combinations to a previous class.

Bronx has national appeal, for those arriving via Marnie's gutsy Apprentice stint, with friendly, reassuring hyperlocal feels. Mentor contact time's generous, with voices keen to see what technical severity works for each individual; they are invested in you.

Simply showing up has already reinvigorated my attitude to challenge, wellness and setting achievable goals, but all in a very short time. I'm far from a footnote in this exciting box-bout community; what a heartbeat it has.

Perhaps they'll call me a plucky undercard star. Will you be the main event?


Matt Calmus is an award-winning sports writer from Essex. Follow and comment on his boxing journey here.

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