Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Thursday, 12 June 2008 17:22 UK

Hatton and Khan open youth gym

L to R: Ricky Hatton, David Haye, Amir Khan
The scheme aims to keep youths fit and teach them discipline

World Champion fighter Ricky Hatton and Commonwealth Champion Amir Khan opened a new boxing gym aimed at keeping inner city youngsters off the streets.

The gym is in a local fire station in Moss Side, Manchester, an area plagued by street gang violence.

The idea is to give youths something to do, teach them discipline, get them fit and keep them out of trouble.

Hatton said: "I think it's fantastic. Every punch bag they hit, they are less likely to hit someone in the streets."

He added: "When I was a youngster there was always a youth club or a boxing gym - there are less and less around now.

"People knock boxing but how many success stories have there been of boxers that have been hooligans and thugs, that have been turned into gentlemen by boxing."

'Wild child'

Part of the fire station has been converted into a gym complete with ring and weights. Firemen will teach, train and spar with local boys who come to the facility.

Nigel Travis, a firefighter and now also head coach at the gym, said the sport would help prevent youngsters from going off the rails.

He added: "I was a very wild child, I was mental and it gave me a channel that I could just vent certain things and not worry about being aggressive on the streets."

Graham Plant, from the fire service, said: "By providing these training facilities and working with the community groups in the area we believe we can have a positive influence on the young people."


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21 May 08 |  Manchester

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