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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 12:21 GMT
Dancers are knock-out for boxers
Pole dancing
Pole dancers have gained respect from boxers say organisers
Boxers at a Devon gym are fighting to keep their concentration after gym bosses introduced pole-dancing lessons.

As the boxers dodge and weave on the canvas at Saints in Plymouth, they risk being knocked sideways by pole dancers gyrating next to them.

Saints introduced pole dancing after an increase in women boxers at the club and teacher Sam White said it is not just the women who are having a go

The boxers say pole dancing keeps them fit and perfects their boxing skills.

It's given the men respect for the pole dancers because they can see how physically demanding it is
Teacher Sam White
Ms White told BBC News "I had reservations about the venue initially, and I was going to put a curtain up.

"But the two disciplines feed off each other and we get women swapping from one to the other. Some of the men have even had a go too.

"We don't allow the men to stare during lessons. If anything, it's given the men respect for the pole dancers because they can see how physically demanding it is."

Nationally, pole dancing has been increasing in popularity for keep-fit fans.

Kickboxer and geology graduate Rachel Bridge, 23, said: "Boxing incorporates lots of different styles and the pole dancing is low impact, so it goes well with the boxing."

Sid Renner, boss of the gym where half the members are women, said: "We used to offer yoga, but we needed something more dynamic and modern.

"Everyone gets on with what they're doing - boxing and pole dancing both demand strength, timing and balance. And if I saw someone staring, they would get a black eye."

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