Stevie Morrison was a boxing enthusiast without a gym – so picked a famous local club up after a quarter of a century on the canvas.
The William Abercrombie Gym previously known as Camelon Mariners Boxing Club, and part of the Camelon Community Project has once again has become part of the Boxing Scotland family after Stevie, the former Zetland Boxing Club Delegate, stepped into the ring to resurrect the old club as Falkirk Phoenix Boxing Club.
Morrison, now an international referee and judge, won multiple Scottish titles for Grangemouth club Zetland and boxed at international level for Scotland across the world. He found himself without a gym after the club closed last year.
He explained, “I was at Zetland for 40 years as boxer, coach, then referee and judge and was devastated when it closed. It took me some time to adjust to not being part of Zetland, and had to join Alloa for a while so that I could continue working as an official.
“I’m very thankful that Alloa gave me that opportunity but I’d always planned to have my own club.
“I was chatting to Stix Cameron who boxed with me at Zetland and also Camelon Mariners, and while we reminisced about those days he told me that the old Camelon Mariners Gym was still being used, albeit not as a boxing club. I had no idea that was the case so went along to have a look.”
The father of four was astonished to find a fully functioning boxing gym right in the middle of Falkirk district being run as a community facility not as a boxing club. After months of discussions and negotiations that eventually led to the birth of Falkirk Phoenix.
Morrison said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked into the WAG – I hadn’t been in there since I was a teenager and had no idea that after Wullie Abercrombie’s death many years ago that committee had kept this cracking wee old style boxing gym going as a community facility. It is astonishing and they deserve huge credit.”
Morrison’s vision and enthusiasm matched that of the committee and before long a partnership agreement was reached for Falkirk Phoenix to use the Abercrombie gym.
Morrison said, “I believe this is an exciting partnership. It represents what is left of Zetland Boxing Club and what is left of Camelon Mariners Boxing Club, and we have come together to rise like a phoenix from the flames. It will see us provide the people of Falkirk; from all walks of life, all ages, all sizes, all shapes, all backgrounds, all ethnicities, as well as people who identify as LGBT, with the opportunity to improve their lives through participating in the sport of amateur boxing.”
Morrison went on, “Most gyms have to charge fees in order to pay the bills, but these days some amateur boxing clubs are run as businesses with the aim of making a profit. However, we at Falkirk Phoenix are all volunteers and will run the club as a non profit organisation. Everyone in our team have jobs and careers and families so for us this is all about the boxing and not money. Our partnership with the WAG is groundbreaking because we have agreed to provide the people of Falkirk, particularly young people, with the opportunity to participate in boxing without having to pay membership fees or per session fees.
“Part of our agreement with the Camelon Community Project means that as long as patrons and participants pay the WAG gym fees which are £2 per session for non member adults (over 16s) and £1 per session for non member juniors (under 16s); taking out a membership for the WAG gym would reduce these fees to £1 and 50p respectively; we at Falkirk Phoenix will not charge any additional fees for boxing club membership or training.
“We believe that this charitable approach is a brave and bold move that will help us widen participation, and we welcome everyone from within our local communities to come and get involved.”
Falkirk Phoenix Boxing Club will initially run every Monday and Wednesday from 7-8.30pm at the WAG gym in Camelon Community Project, Abercrombie Street, Camelon, although this will increase in future. Non contact classes for 8-12 year old boys and girls will also be starting soon.
Morrison added: “Falkirk Phoenix Boxing Club would like to thank the committee of the WAG gym and Camelon Community Project, for their positive outlook, their enthusiasm, and for supporting us in bringing this exciting venture to fruition.”