Empire Fighting Chance’s story began in 2006 when our founders, Martin and Jamie, spotted two young men dealing drugs in a park near to the Empire Boxing Gym in inner-city Bristol.
They decided to tackle their behaviour and invited them in for a private training session and discussed the issues they faced. Both young men enjoyed the session and turned up the following week with a few friends. Within six weeks 50 young people were attending sessions five nights a week.
The Empire Amateur Boxing Club has existed in inner-city Bristol for over 50 years, working with thousands of young people and producing national champions and international representatives. Through former Empire boxer and now Empire Fighting Chance Ambassador, Chris Sanigar, we have produced British, Commonwealth, European and World Champions.
Martin Bisp, our CEO, has voluntarily run the Empire Amateur Boxing Club since 2004 and also worked as a business analyst for over 20 years.
Jamie Sanigar, our COO, has had a lifelong involvement in professional boxing and experience in running businesses, managing athletes and promoting large sporting events.
Together, Martin and Jamie recognised the potential of what they were building, as did more and more organisations and partners.
As our reputation grew, schools began asking us to work with their pupils who were on the verge of exclusion. The success we had with these groups led to us working with Pupil Referral Units and Avon and Somerset Police.
Over time, we evolved from a small boxing project into running the UK’s largest non-contact boxing schools engagement programme. Shortly after reaching this milestone, we asked ourselves what we wanted to do next, and it became clear we needed to “give as many people as possible a fighting chance to succeed”.
So, in 2013 we created the boxing charity, Empire Fighting Chance, to help us achieve our ambition.
Since then, we have expanded our team, the programmes we offer and our reach around the UK.
Find out more about what we do by clicking the links below.