KnockOut LGBTQ+ Amateur Boxing Club

Our club is KnockOut, an inclusive LGBTQ+ Amateur boxing club. We train at Sobell Leisure Centre in Finsbury Park on tuesdays and Thursdays, offering beginner and advanced classes in boxing, technique and fitness. Our members represent a large demographic, from late teens to over-60s, across the gender spectrum, ability, race and sexual identity

What is the goal / dream for your club?

"The goal of our club is to provide an safe, friendly and supportive environment where members can learn and develop their boxing skills amongst peers who respect and encourage them, all while having fun and getting fit."

It is pride month so we want to know what you are most proud of about your club?

"The thing that we are most proud of are our members. We started out as a very small club (just three of us) and over the last four years, our membership has grown and we are seeing up to 30 people in a class. The people who come to KnockOut are so supportive of each other and so enthusiastic about the club and they make each class so enjoyable. Boxing can be an intimidating sport, especially for LGBTQ+ people, but our members have shown what a great sport it can be when you’re surrounded by kind, funny, wonderful peers."

What makes a good teammate for your club?

"Respect is absolutely key - when you’re practicing combinations or sparring, you must show your teammate/opponent complete respect. And you must respect the sport - it’s not about thrashing each other or brawling; it’s about delivering a fair and considered match of sportsmanship. I think KnockOut members also show great understanding - we all remember what’s it like to start and not know technique or struggle to pick up combinations, so we all empathise with each other’s journeys. And we are all each other’s cheerleaders - sometimes your own confidence can falter, but our members are there for each other’s to encourage them to face the challenges and to just enjoy the process!"

Why do you think it is important for there to be LGBTIQ+ specific sports clubs/groups?

"KnockOut is primarily a community club - we provide a space for LGBTQ+ people to come together, train together and socialise together.

Often, LGBTQ+ don’t feel like they belong in sports or have bad memories from gym class in school, and community clubs such as KnockOut prove that that’s simply not true.

Also, Pride month is such a wonderful time of the year and people across the community come together and feel connected and supported. With clubs like KnockOut, we keep that feeling of community going every month of the year."

Do you have an LGBTIQ+ sporting hero?

"To be honest, I think many people in KnockOut would say that our coach Paul Jackson is their sporting hero. His dedication and encouragement and incredible teaching helped to transform a tiny boxercise class into a real boxing club. We love him!"

How do you think sport can benefit the LGBTIQ+ community?

"The statistics on LGBTQ+ issues with mental health and loneliness are truly shocking, and community clubs such as KnockOut can help because we offer a space for anyone to turn up and belong. Having a regular class gives you structure and helps you to socialise with your peers, and when you attend regularly, it’s natural to foster friendships with your classmates.

I also think that sports can help challenge stereotypes surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, proving that we are just as capable and competitive and confident.."

“The statistics on LGBTQ+ issues with mental health and loneliness are truly shocking, and community clubs such as KnockOut can help because we offer a space for anyone to turn up and belong.”