Boxing comes to Priory Lane - and it's great news for Eastbourne

Fisticuffs at Priory Lane? Surely not – at least not on the football pitch. But Eastbourne Borough and Eastbourne Boxing Club have this week announced a major new project.
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The two clubs have entered detailed discussions, and come up with firm plans to build a new state-of-the-art gym and fitness centre at the SO Legal Stadium at the Lane. It would be built at the eastern end of the ground – the “River End” to Sports stalwarts, and would include a viewing area on to the football pitch, rather similar to the Mick Green Stand at the opposite end.

But this project will include very much more, in terms of fitness and training facilities beyond simply boxing. Unveiled this week to the public, it will be promoted tomorrow (Saturday August 20) at an exhibition point in the Terminus Road Precinct, where members of both clubs will be out to catch the attention of local people – and, no doubt, Airbourne visitors – and explain their exciting project. A Joint Venture Vehicle has been set up, led by Borough vice-chairman Paul Maynard and Boxing Club chairman Adam Haniver.

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Paul explains: “With professional support from England Boxing, Sport England and similar bodies the JVV will apply for funding, supplemented by crowd and other fundraising initiatives to plan for, design and build a bespoke boxing and fitness gym on land owned by EBFC.

The Army boxing gym at AldershotThe Army boxing gym at Aldershot
The Army boxing gym at Aldershot

"This will include a gymnasium on a first-floor mezzanine, a matted exercise space, a coffee shop (manned or automated), a merchandise shop/office area, male and female changing rooms, youth changing rooms and one or more meeting rooms for use by both organisations. The boxing gym will be on the ground floor, and overlooked by the mezzanine.”

“Eastbourne Boxing Club has grown and grown in recent years,” explains Adam. “And thanks to our phenomenal early success, EBC has hit critical mass. Demand for its services outstrips the club’s ability to deliver them, primarily due to a lack of suitable facilities to expand into. Furthermore, the Club’s lease at our present town centre premises expires in 18 months’ time.

The centre’s design will be influenced by similar state-of-the-art facilities such as the British Army Boxing Centre in Aldershot (pictured).

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Paul Maynard sees the joint venture as a whole new chapter in the football club’s development. “We at Eastbourne Borough have a long term ambition to develop a sports hub at Priory Lane, to service the entire town but particularly the ever growing conurbations at Sovereign Harbour, Langney, Stone Cross and Polegate. Using the surrounding land to the north and the east, we could for example include rugby, boxing, archery and racquet sports.

“A particular priority has always been the construction of a gymnasium on the site. This could be used by semi-professional adult footballers, sports physios, youth players looking to work on strength and conditioning; younger players for fun sessions during weekly training or at holiday camps during inclement weather; the older members (eg walking footballers, bowls members and those who attend the afternoon club) and those parents who drop their children off at Owlets Nursery.”

Boxing clever? The Eastbourne Boxing Club stand in the Precinct is the place to discover more on Saturday.