A Fulham boxing club was almost dealt a knockout blow as it remained without a ring for almost two years until a generous donation from a local businessman.
Hurlingham Boxing Club in Peterborough Road struggled to raise the £1,700 needed to buy a ring before Teo Catino, owner of II Pagliaccio restaurant in Wandsworth Bridge Road, dipped into his pocket.
The restauranteur helped with the initial launch of the club back in June 2010 when it was called Sands End ABC and was saddened to see the only boxing club in Fulham in such dire straits.
Within a year of its inauguration, it went on to have its first champion as Beau Tuvey clinched the light-middleweight title at the ABAE national championships, and then Ramon Perez clinched a gold medal at the Haringey Box Cup in 2014 – the biggest amateur tournament in Europe that is held annually at Alexandra Palace.
Head coach Roy Reid, who has been at the club since it was founded, was overwhelmed with the generosity of the restaurant owner.
"Now that we have a ring again we can get the club back on track and competing in the major competitions across the country. We want to continue to produce fighters who can compete against the big boys and make a name for themselves in the sport," the 52-year-old said.
"We have the team and the fighters here and now finally we have a ring again to help train our future champions who will go on to represent Fulham. It was sad to be running the boxing gym without a ring. But thanks to Teo we are fighting fit once again."
Before entering the game of boxing, Roy, who was raised in Fulham, played semi-professional football for Feltham and Hounslow FC in the late Nineties.
He held a boxing day fun-run on 3 July in which club members ran five kilometres around South Park and members of the public had the chance to have pad sessions with Hurlingham ABC coaches, Rory Parsons and Cliff Morrison.
Meanwhile, Teo Catino continued his work in the community last weekend as he held the 17th edition of the Paggs Cup in South Park, a junior football competition that has been a platform from which young talented players have been scouted by the likes of Watford and Tottenham.
Over 80 teams competed in the five-a-side tournament on Sunday that was set up to keep the borough’s youngsters active and out of trouble.