The Islington Boxing Club was first founded and known as Kings Cross Amateur Boxing Club in January 1974. The club was based in the community hall of York Way Court, close to Kings Cross Station (now home to Times ABC).
Founder members included: Local publican and former boxer Reg Topper who volunteered as a trainer and fundraiser. Beat policeman Bill McCourt acted as Honorary Secretary. Railway man Jim Parodi was club treasurer.
They were backed by a willing group of trainers and helpers who were all intent on getting the club established and hoping to rid the area of increasing vandalism by bored local youngsters in a deprived environment. The team consisted of: Wally White, Brian Wigger, George Barrow, Joe Annerson, Ron Hagland, John Roberts, Terry Emberson and others. Sadly, within 6 months, Reg Topper died of a heart attack and Bill McCourt moved on due to promotion in his police career so Ron Hagland took the roles of honorary secretary and fund-raiser.
Within 2 years the club’s expansion required larger premises and they quickly outgrew the estate hall moving first to the former York Way School and then the Michael Sobell Sports Centre in 1976 to accommodate the increasing membership popularity. The club was now operating 6 days a week.
It was then considered appropriate to re-name the club and it then became known as ‘Islington Boys’ Club’. As the expansion of the club grew, the search was on for their own premises that would attract some borough funding.
The move to Hazellville Road In 1981, the very supportive Mayor of Islington suggested the possibility of using the site offices of the Bovis Construction Company on the Elthorne Park site in Hazellville Road N19. After a meeting with the Bovis Director, it was agreed that as the building of the Elthorne Park Estate was complete, Bovis no longer required the use of the site offices and were prepared to agree the sale of the building to Islington Boys’ Club, subject to Council Planning Permission.
The next challenge was to seek Town Hall permission for the building’s ‘change of use’ and after many meetings and extensive negotiations, permission was granted. During this transition period there were some more sad losses as Wally White passed on and some of the club’s helpers were unable to follow the relocation to the northern end of the borough. Administrative help had always been in short supply and in April 1983 the club suffered another sad loss with the passing of dedicated member Jim Parodi that left Ron Hagland to pick up the role of club treasurer.
Ron is to this day still the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer of the Islington Boxing Club, for many years he carried the club forward with the aid of many friends and associates. He retired in October 2000 and sold up his Drive Inn Scrap Metal business in Stoke Newington and moved out of London with his wife Maureen to live in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex. He still regularly visits the club once a month to attend committee meetings and to see how the club is going. Ron’s son Lenny is now the day-to-day manager of the club and grandson Reggie is on the management committee.
Frankie Vaughan, then vice-president of the National Association of Boys’ Clubs (N.A.B.C.), formally opened the club’s new home on the 17th February 1984 & there was much appreciated financial help from: The Joseph Levy Charitable Foundation, The Variety Club of Great Britain, Bovis Construction Ltd, the ILEA, Federation of London Youth Clubs plus many kind personal friends who had supported the club along the way. The club was converted and decorated internally in the club’s (Arsenal) colours of red and white and furnished with a comprehensive array of equipment to make it a truly traditional boxing gym.
The first 8 years were totally self-financed but, since then, Islington Council has assisted with a small annual grant. The majority of our funding still comes from our own efforts and the appreciation of our many friends and supporters. To this day the club is still based in Hazellville Road and their long-term plans are to secure a long-term lease and redevelop the site with a purpose built new gym and community area for local use.
Islington Boxing Champions
Islington has over the years produced many champions throughout its history, Regional, London, National and International. In 1985 John Beckles became Islington’s first Senior ABA champion when he won the Light-Heavyweight title at Wembley Arena (he also won the ABA Light-Heavyweight title again in 1987 with Fairburn House ABC) and more national champions followed in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in the clubs most successful period to date. Michael Scott won N.A.B.C. titles in 1988, 1989 and 1990 becoming the first boxer to achieve the feet of winning 3 titles in a row. He also won a Junior ABA title in 1990 and later became a Senior London ABA champion, he also represented Young England. Danny Oliver and Mark Mbachu also won N.A.B.C. titles along with ‘Scotty’ in 1990. The successful team of junior boxers from Islington Boys Club also consisted of Stuart Green (a Junior ABA and Schoolboy champion), John Gallagher (a Junior ABA, Schoolboy & N.A.B.C. champion) and Ryan Cummings (Junior ABA champion) to just name a few.
Courtney Fry won an N.A.B.C. title in 1993, a first of many National championships. Fry became the clubs 2nd Senior ABA Champion at Light-Heavyweight in 1996, he was also an England International who went onto box in the Olympic games in Sydney in 2000 along with Audley Harrison. Harrison was also a member of the IBC in the mid 90’s who won a London ABA title with the club, along with Fry they both moved to Repton ABC. Fry went on to win two ABA titles in 1998 and 2001 along with a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 before turning over as a professional boxer in 2002.
The IBC in the 21st Century
Islington Boys Club was no longer a name that fitted the club into the 21st century and the club is much more commonly known as ‘Islington Boxing Club’ nowadays. The fact that we welcome women into the ‘noble art’ of boxing and females also represent the club in amateur boxing contests now the ‘Boys Club’ tag was no longer a correct title to associate the club with anymore.
Sara Knieper was the first female competitive boxer to represent the Islington Boxing Club in an amateur boxing contest when she participated in the Haringey Box Cup in June 2010; she won her bout and also won a gold medal in a straight U67kg final. Sara also won another gold medal in the same tournament in June 2011. Stephanie Louis- Fernand became the clubs first female National ABA champion when she won the Class C U67kg title in June 2011. She also won a gold medal in the Hvidrove Box Cup in 2011 and 2012 and a silver medal in the Haringey Box Cup in June 2011.
In recent years the club has had senior and junior novice champions and finalist. Jordan Grannum won back-to-back National Senior Novice championships in January and December 2011 winning Class A (under 10 bouts) and Class B (under 20 bouts) titles at Welterweight. Aarron Morgan won the Middleweight Class B Senior Novice crown in December 2011. Lightweight Darren Ballinger was a Senior Novice finalist in 2009 and Anthony Ward was a Junior Novice finalist also in 2009. Garv Krasniqi was a National Junior Novice champion in 2007.
The Club outside the ring
In February 2010 the club was awarded the ‘Mayor’s Civic Award’ which is a community award for making Islington a better place and Ron Hagland picked up the ‘Sport Islington Volunteer of the Year Award’ after nearly 40 years of volunteering at the IBC in July 2010. The club was also awarded recently the accolade of ‘Sports Islington Club of the Year’ award in July 2011.
In July 2010 Islington ABC became the first amateur boxing club in London to achieve ABAE Club-mark Accreditation. Club-mark is the only national cross sports quality accreditation scheme for clubs with junior sections. It is built around a set of core criteria which ensure that accredited clubs operate to a set of consistent, accepted and adopted minimum operating standards.
The club is in use 6 days a week and has currently over 400 members in the competitive boxing section and over 600 members in the recreational boxing section. The club provides boxing sessions for the whole community, ranging from competitive boxing classes, beginners academy classes and recreational sessions. We especially look for and encourage young people to attend, giving them a focus, showing them discipline and teaching camaraderie. We cater for serious boxers who want to compete as well as recreational who can enjoy the same rigorous workouts without the full contact combat. Recently the club has also started working with local schools that train at the club as well as other boxing themed activities. The club is also home to Islington Admiral United Football Club; it has several youth teams and two senior football sides.
The club has produced some excellent talent over the years, including amongst others:
(If there any boxers or honours missing from the list please get in contact with us!)
- Aarron Morgan – NW London ABA Senior Novice Divisional Champ (Class A & B), London ABA Senior Novice Champ (Class B), National ABA Senior Novice Class B Champion, Hvidovre Box Cup Gold medalist, Haringey Box Cup Gold medalist, Elite NW London ABA Divisional Champ, Elite London ABA Champ, Elite National ABA Semi Finalist, 3x London Rep, Muti Nations Box Cup Gold Medalist & Cyprus Box Cup Silver Medalist
- Albes Krasniqi – Hvidovre Box Cup Gold medalist & London Junior ABA Finalist
- Andre Bowen – Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist, NW London Rep & London Rep
- Anthony Ward – London ABA Junior Novice Champion, National ABA Junior Novice Finalist, London ABA Junior Finalist & Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist
- Asher Wilson – London ABA Junior Novice Finalist
- Audley Harrison – NW London ABA Champ, London ABA Champion & England International (future 2x ABA champion, Commonwealth Gold medalist 1998 & Olympic Gold medalist 2000)
- Ben Turner – Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist 2012
- Bernie Paul – London Senior ABA champion & future Commonwealth Champion
- Butch Leslie – NABC champion
- Carlos Moreno – Haringey Box Cup Gold Medalist 2008, NW London ABA Senior Novice Champ, London ABA Senior Novice Champion and Cyprus Box Cup Gold medalist
- Cherrelle Brown – London Female ABA Champ & National Female ABA Finalist (Class C)
- Clay O’Shea – London ABA Champion
- Colin Dunne – London ABA Senior Novice Champion & future WBU World lightweight Champion
- Courtney Fry – 1x National ABA Champion at Light heavyweight & NABC Champ (Future 2x National ABA Champion, European Silver medalist at the European games 1998, Commonwealth Gold medalist 1998 & GB Olympian)
- Damien Noonan – Middx. Champion
- Danny Hoye – London ABA Champion
- Danny Oliver – NABC Champion, National Junior ABA Champion & England international
- Darren Ballinger – NW London ABA Senior Novice Divisional Class A & B Champ, London ABA Senior Novice Class A & B Champ, National ABA Senior Novice ABA finalist Class B, National ABA Senior Novice Semi Finalist Class A, Haringey Box Cup gold medalist 2009, 2x NW London ABA Elite Champion, 2x London ABA Elite Finalist, NW London Rep, 3x London Rep & England Rep
- Delroy Grey – NW London ABA Elite Divisional Champion
- Earl Jones – NW London ABA Elite Divisional Champion
- Enrico Mullings – Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist, Haringey Box Cup Silver Medalist, 2x NW London Senior Novice Divisional Class A Champion, London ABA Senior Novice Champ, NW London Rep & London Rep
- Errol Geohagen – NW London ABA Divisional Champion & London ABA Champion
- Garv Krasniqi – NW London Junior Novice Champion, London Junior Novice Champion, National Junior Novice Champion, Golden Gloves Champion & Haringey Box Cup Gold Medalist 2008
- Gabriel ‘Gibble’ Thorli – London ABA Senior Novice Champion
- Guy Williamson – World Policeman Champion
- Jack Sinnott – NW London rep
- James Woodward – English & British University Champion, 2x Haringey Box Cup Gold Medalist, 3x London Rep and Cyprus Box Cup Gold medal winner
- Jeff Ofori – Cyprus Box Cup Silver medalist & NW London rep
- Jermaine Kelly – Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist 2012, NW London ABA Senior Novice Champ, London ABA Senior Novice Champ, National ABA Senior Novice Champ (Class A, 2012)
- Jetmir Kuqi – NW London ABA Champ & London ABA Finalist
- Joe Woods – NW London ABA Divisional Champion & London ABA Finalist
- John Beckles – NW London ABA Divisional Champion, London ABA Champion, 2x ABA National Champion, European Championship Bronze Medalist & England International
- John Emberson – Middlesex Champ x4, London ABA Champion, NABC Finalist & England rep
- John Gallagher – NABC, Junior ABA & Schoolboy finalists
- John Roberts – Middx. Champion
- Jordan Grannum – National ABA Senior Novice Class A & B Champion, London ABA Senior Novice Class A & B Champion, NW London ABA Senior Novice Class A & B Champion & Haringey Box Cup Gold Medalist in 2010 & 2011
- Josie Farrell – NW London ABA Divisional Champion
- Junior Miller – NW London Senior Novice Champion, London Senior Novice Champion & Haringey Box Cup Silver Medalist
- Lenny Hagland – NABC Champion, Junior ABA Finalist & Young England International
- Mark Alexander – 5x NW London Div Champ, London Champion, ABA Semi Finalist, NABC Champion & London Rep
- Mark Edwards – NW London ABA Elite Divisional Champion
- Mark Mbachu – NABC Champ
- Martin Carroll – NW London Senior Novice Champion
- Martin Gallagher – National Junior Champion
- Mervyn Stevens – World Policeman Champion
- Michael Brown – NW London ABA Divisional Champion
- Michael Scott – NABC champion at Class A, B & C (first boxer to win 3 NABC titles in a row), London Federation Boys Club Champion x3, London Junior ABA Champ, National Junior ABA champion, Senior London ABA champion & Young England International
- Natasha Gold – Golden Girl Box Cup Silver Medalist, Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist and National Female ABA Semi Finalist
- Nicky Allen – London Federation of Boys Club finalist
- Noel Alleyne – London ABA Champion
- Noel Macken – Middx. Champion
- Noufal Aallem – NW London Senior Novice Champion 2011
- Patrick Ward – 3x NW London Schoolboy Champion, 2x Middx Minor Champ, 2x Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist, London Schoolboy Champion & Nationals Schools Semi Finalist
- Reece Shagourie – London Open Novice Champion, Jamaican International & Cyprus Box Cup Silver medalist
- Ryan Cummings – National ABA Junior Champion & England International
- Ryan Turner – Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist & Haringey Box Cup Silver Medalist
- Sara Knieper – 2x Haringey Box Cup Gold Medalist, Haringey Box Cup Silver Medalist & National Female ABA Semi Finalist (First female boxer of the IBC)
- Scott Smart – Hvidovre Box Cup Silver Medalist, NW London ABA Senior Novice Class A Champ, London ABA Senior Novice Champ & National ABA Senior Novice Finalist (Class A)
- Stephanie Louis Fernand – 2x Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist, 2x London Female ABA Champion, National Female ABA Champion, Haringey Box Cup Silver Medalist 2011 & Gold Medalist 2012 & 2x London Rep
- Steve Emberson – London ABA Champion
- Stuart Green – NABC Champion, National Schoolboy Champ, National Junior ABA Champion & Young England International
- Terry Emberson – Middx. Champ
- Tom Doherty – NABC National Finalist, London Schoolboy Champ, London Junior ABA Champ & Young England International
- Tony Cumberpatch – NW London ABA Divisional Champion
- Troy Smart – Hvidovre Box Cup Gold Medalist 2012, Haringey Box Cup Silver Medalist 2012 & NW London ABA Senior Novice Class A Finalist