Clydesdale man Darren Armstrong is seeking funding to set up Lanark’s first ever boxing club, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Readers may be surprised to hear that the town has never had an official boxing club of its own, but Darren is hoping to change all that having recently taught the sport to large groups of people at Curtis Brothers Fitness in Baxter Lane.
Darren, a 29-year-old train driver who lives in Carluke, told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: “Despite only starting this in January, there is already brilliant interest in the club.
“The first time we opened it was unreal, we had 55 people walked through the door.
“But due to the lack of space in the hall we had to turn some of them away.
“So we just need premises a wee bit bigger than we have just now.
“The people who come here range in age from nine to 40-something.
“I think there is a great demand for boxing in Lanark.
“This is the first boxing club the town has ever had and studies have shown that participating in boxing can reduce a town’s crime rate, knife crime and gang culture.
“We are trying to channel people into something positive.
“We also have youngsters coming here who are autistic or have Asperger’s and coming to Lanark Boxing Club is a great outlet for them.”
Darren, who runs the club with younger brother Aaron and friend John Thomson, also stated his frustration that Carluke also lacks a boxing club.
He added: “My future plan – when I make my Lanark club a success – is to branch out to Carluke.
“People are clearly interested in boxing here and if we had the right facilities then we could turn it into something special.
“But I really need help from anybody willing to support this project.
“We need a bigger set of premises at an affordable rate.”
Darren’s existing classes at Lanark Boxing Club run between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
The first half hour is spent running three-and-a-half miles around Lanark Loch before 90 minutes of boxing.
The current set-up sees Darren restricted to working with kids and adults at the same time.
Ideally he’d like to offer separate classes for the younger and older age groups, running via different sessions between 5pm and 6pm (kids) and 6pm and 8pm (adults) three nights a week.
Anyone wishing to offer premises to Darren or provide funding can contact him on his mobile phone (07800 865432) or via his Twitter feed of @Darren9989
He said: “We are open to anything, regardless of whether somebody has a unit or even an old hut they can offer us.
“We are willing to put the work in to upgrade any premises offered, even if it takes a bit more time.”
Darren stressed that the club already has its own boxing ring, bags, gloves and head guards.
“We recently did a bag pack at B and M Bargains,” he added. “It has got to the stage where we have money sitting but just need premises so we can be affiliated with Boxing Scotland, become a proper amateur club and go to competitions.”