Attitude and KOBOX Boxing Club have launched a new PROUD campaign in a bid to encourage gay men to pick up a pair of gloves and help smash away the current stigma attached to the sport.
Boxing clubs are, by some, still seen as hostile, intimidating environments to work out in. Many in the gay community rightly see boxing as an incredibly effective way to get fit, but many say they feel uneasy about trying their hand at it.
In the run-up to London Pride in July, KOBOX Boxing Club launches its PROUD campaign with a hard-hitting video, showcasing the isolation and exclusion some gay men may feel when thinking about taking up the sport.
KOBOX, which has a ‘Fight Club Meets Nightclub’ mantra, specialises in 50-minute, high-intensity boxing classes and has a 70-per-cent female-dominant clientele, filmed the video in its London City studio in an effort to address the stigmatisation some gay men feel when thinking about getting into boxing… and turn that on its head.
A host of names feature in the video – which is led by creative director Jerry Reeve – including showbiz journalist James Ingham, TV producer Joff Powell and comedian and TV presenter James Barr.
Renowned choreographer Jerry, best known for his work on The Voice, says: ‘I love the fact that KOBOX is doing this campaign. It will help break stereotypes and lead towards the change in perception of certain sports.
"I didn’t know what to expect going into KOBOX for the first time, but I came out smiling, sweating and chuffed that I learnt a new skill set. With the tunes, diverse workouts and sexy studios, it’s hard not walking out feeling like you’re Tyson."
Entertainment or Showbiz journalist James Ingham, says: ‘I recently trained for a celebrity boxing fight, which brought back lots of childhood insecurities about my sexuality that I thought I had dealt with.
"At first I was reluctant to train in boxing gyms – I felt I would be judged by the predominantly straight male boxers with the huge levels of testosterone.
"In complete contrast, KOBOX offered a challenging training workout in a relaxed, fun, mixed environment.
"What I love about KOBOX is its message of fun fitness for all. Everyone is welcome – whatever your sex, sexuality or level of boxing experience."
Kris Pace, brand director at KOBOX, says: "The lack of gay men participating in boxing, and boxing-related fitness, has needed to be addressed for some time now, and we felt this was a profound way to deliver a clear message to everyone within the sport.
"We spoke to a lot of our gay friends and relatives about starting a campaign, and together we decided to make a stand for the community through KOBOX.
"No one should feel intimidated coming to a boxing class at KOBOX, or any other gym for that matter. Any perception that gay men aren’t welcome at a boxing club is outrageous.
"The thought of anyone feeling isolated or uneasy for wanting to learn to box is something we wanted to pinpoint in the video, and I think Jerry conveys these emotions with complete authenticity, because it’s a pain real to him and many other gay men.
"We welcome anyone through our doors, from any walk of life, and the LGBT community is, without question, absolutely a part of that.
"On this occasion, after speaking to Attitude magazine and those closest to us, we wanted to start by challenging the perception that boxing is a sport predominantly for straight men in particular. But this is just the beginning..."
As part of their new PROUD campaign to celebrate Pride in London, KOBOX are inviting 22 Attitude readers to take a part in a private class at KOBOX’s City Studio in London, led by KOBOX trainer and former Britain's Got Talent winner Doug Fordyce - click here for your chance to win!
For more information visit koboxlondon.com