The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

R &R boxing academy – fighting fit, five years on

By Gerald Gilbert

Something positive and productive has-been going on in a little known venue in the heart of Boscombe.

The ‘R &R boxing  academy  run by 44 year old Roger Dorway has been successfully taking young men and sometimes women off the streets and away from a life of crime and addiction. The club also boasts a wealth of successes and is set for a bright future.

Roger Dorway said: “It’s like a child hood dream. I always wanted to do it when I was younger so I thought better late than never.”

He went on to say that he was a natural motivator and that he had always been told he was inspirational. So, he said:”It made sense to do that in a sport which I love.” He says he enjoys helping people and it just feels right.

Roger is no stranger to boxing. Although starting late in life and going astray in his early years he decided his abilities could be put to good use and stop others making the same mistakes that he did.

He started boxing five years ago and can claim 10 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses out of 17 bouts , 4 southern area titles as well as being 5 times British title challenger.

The club itself is coming up to its 5th year anniversary. It started when Roger got together with his friend Ray Bishop who also won a British title bout. Also right from the start Roger and Ray had two friends who were also their two corner men, Marcel Kellman and Jem Newman.

It was basically an idea out of the blue. Roger said: “Something told me, you know what I need to get some boys involved in the boxing game especially after seeing how good he had done at such a late age.”

In nearly 5 years the club and its members have gone from strength to strength. One of the committed trainers, who comes in from time to time, Big Jem, was very pleased with the trainees. He said: “Some of them could go on to greatness. They could do some boxing here then go professional and make some money.”

He described the club where ‘everyone is welcome’ as being a lovely environment, friendly and particularly with no bullying.

Roger, who is head coach of the club, was equally praiseworthy of his clientele he said: “A lot of kids I’ve trained have done really well.” Out of nine fighters he has trained eight have won. They are from all over the country

The trainee boxers themselves had only positive things to say about the club. Boscombe resident, originally from Portugal, Joao Vieira said he hoped to win the BBU title for the club in November and he has already won his last professional bout under Roger’s guidance

Not satisfied with winning a title his dream is to have his own school in the future . 19 year old newcomer Jeff Parnell said:”I really enjoyed it from the start so I carried on.” He hopes to start fighting soon.

Boscombe local ‘Big Jem’Big Jem on Bag, had his last fight two years ago but said he will still compete if the money is there.

It is the R and R Academy in particular that is special to all involved. Jeff Parnell said: “My brother used to come here. My dad’s good friend with one of the trainers.”

Joao said the trainers were very passionate and he had learnt a lot from Roger. Big Jem has known Roger for years and says they work as a good team regularly sparring together and teaching one another new skills.

He defended the boxing ethos saying it was not dangerous or as violent as people thought. He said: “The devil makes work for idle hands (and) basically it means if you have got nothing to do you are going to do wrong.”

He emphasised the positivity of it and how it was a controlled environment where young men could ‘get their aggression out.’

Roger said that it kept him out of trouble. When he was young most of his friends went on to British, European and world title fights but he said: “I just seemed to be the one who went to jail and was always getting in trouble when I was younger.”

He added :“ Since starting boxing and becoming a born again Christian he has kept out of trouble and prison.

Despite its success Roger believes the club and its fighter will go on to greater things. He hopes to get a bigger gym, have boxers from all over the country. He even dared to dream of international boxing with fighters from abroad competing with English ones.

Judging by its achievements so far it might not be such a pipe dream but a reality.

To end Roger gave thanks to all the trainers who taken part in R and R boxing academy over the years, which are Ray Bishop, Stuart Malony, Marcel Killman, Jem Newman, Matt Hurns, Acer and Adam.

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