The Empire Amateur Boxing club has existed in the St Paul’s, Bristol for over 40 years.
We are Bristol’s most successful sport with a long and credible history of producing champions, both as amateurs and professionals.
Our main Ambassador, Chris Sanigar, also boxed for the club in the 1970’s and is the man responsible for bringing professional boxing back to Bristol and making the city punch above its weight on the international map.
We have produced World, European, Commonwealth and British Champions. We are the only South West club to have produced World Champions in Adrian Stone and Glenn Catley.
The seeds of the current community programme were sown in 2006 when the founders Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar spotted two teenagers involved in dealing drugs in a local park:
“We wandered over and asked them to come inside the gym to try something different they engaged in the training session and asked to comeback again. We decided to privately fund an after schools boxing session for young people in the community to reduce anti- social behaviour. Alongside the boxing lessons we started to offer mentoring and personal development sessions.
The weekly session grew into daily ones to meet demand and within 6 weeks 49 young people were coming to the gym to train on a daily basis.
As word of mouth spread about our work we were approached by the local authority who offered to fund the programme.
As our reputation grew schools began asking us to work with pupils who were on the verge of exclusion and passive learners. The success we had with these groups led to us working with pupil referral units and Avon and Somerset Police. This has now developed into the largest non-contact boxing schools engagement programme in the UK.
We were then were approached by the NHS who had heard about our successes and this has led to us working in partnership with them tackling Mental Health and Obesity.
Someone asked us what we wanted to do; we said to give people a fighting chance to succeed which led us to create Empire Fighting Chance Charity in 2013.
2 years on and we are now working with over 200 young people per week in the communities throughout Bristol. We have redeveloped The Mill Youth Centre, Easton and now have a purpose built facility including a state of the art gym, classroom and studio space.”