Gibbens gets in shape for big one thanks to new Bognor boxing gym

ALEX GIBBENS is shaping up for his first fight of 2012 by pummelling the punchbags in Bognor's new boxing gym.

Middleweight Gibbens attempts to improve the 3-0 start to his professional career at the Hove Town Hall on Saturday, February 25, when he faces Birmingham-based Cameroon opponent Emmanuel Moussinga.

The 27-year-old West Sussex orthodox puncher has been put through his paces in new premises in Waterloo Square which are a throwback to old-style boxing gyms.

“It hasn’t got an official name yet but everyone is calling it the Beehive because it’s buzzing,” said Faz Chitima, one of the people running the new operation.

“We have all the necessary equipment but we have made sure it’s not too comfortable for the boxers because they are here to work not look pretty.

“It’s retained some of the spit and sawdust atmosphere you used to find in the boxing gyms above pubs back in the day. It’s proper old school.”

Paul Riley, who has also worked hard to get the enterprise past the opening bell, added: “We want it to attract the best professionals in the area for quality sparring but we are also going to open the doors to youngsters who want to box as amateurs. It’s right by the seafront in the centre of town, it’s easy to find and it’s going to be open long hours so people can come in and keep busy.

“Local businessmen Jamie Bristow and Paul Hartley have helped us get off the ground and we have exciting plans for the future.”

Gibbens has been sparring with hot prospect Chris Eubank Jnr in Brighton.

But Chitima added: ‘He was been getting through a lot of work at the Beehive and Lee Strange from the Chichester Squash and Racquet Club has been working on his conditioning.

“Ben Watts, a light-welterweight who should turn professional after Easter, has been training hard here and so has Arthur Geikins, a welterweight from Latvia.

“Liam Griffiths has also been popping in to keep tuned up so he can keep sharp as he is boxing professionally all over the country at short notice and the sparring is really helpful to him as well.

“Chris Larner, who was a very good amateur, is helping me out and, all in all, we have a proper boxing crew down here.”

Boxing fans can see a semi-pro show at the Arun Leisure Centre at 4pm this Sunday featuring Felpham’s Jamie Knowles and tickets are available on 07854 834273.