Coach’s defiance after fire damages Peterborough boxing gym

Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain
Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain

A coach at a Peterborough boxing gym has vowed that it will keep serving the community after it was damaged by fire.

Shujah Saklain said Top Yard School of Boxing in Brassey Close, New England, will keep going despite suffering damage to the front entrance and changing room less than a week before its young fighters compete against each other on Sunday.

Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain

Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain

Fire crews were called to the large portacabin where the gym is situated just before 6am this morning (Monday, October 30).

A fire investigation is ongoing, but a police spokesman said it was reported to them as an arson by the region’s fire service.

Shujah, who is hoping witnesses to the fire will come forward to the authorities, said: “I got a phone call from one of the teachers. Something caught fire outside then caught the building.

“The front entrance is definitely unsafe - the steps have melted. The changing rooms are out of order and the electrics are out.

Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain

Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain

“Luckily the fire service managed to get there before there was any smoke damage inside the building.

“But Sunday is our first home show. All our fighters are prepared and this week is really, really important.

“We are waiting to see whether the building will be safe.”

The boxing gym has been running for a year and has been a success story with 40 children and 30 teenagers coming along every week.

Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain

Photo of the fire from Shujah Saklain

Shujah said the team had cleaned out the portacabin and made it fit for use after taking it on, and that despite this latest setback they will carry on their work serving the community.

He added: “The building had drug users in there, but we have cleaned it out and made it something for the community to be proud of.

“We are taking kids off the streets and doing something positive.

“This is a setback but we will keep going because we are working for the community.”