What do Jennifer Anniston, Gwen Stefani, Cristina Aguilera and Big Brother winner Kate Lawler have in common? All these celebrities owe their hot bodies, in part, to boxing. And where celebs go, the rest of us are sure to follow...
Neil Perkins who runs Fighting Fit City Gym in Birmingham, trains Kate Lawler and as well as ‘Boxing Betty’ - a grandma of 67. This may come as surprise if you still thought boxing was a man's game, but Perkins actually finds women better co-ordinated and more natural than men.
Clive Gibson heads the F.I.T. club in Newcastle, welcomes women to his boxing circuit training classes. The majority of the women he trains are barristers, doctors, lawyers who ‘all come in and have a great blast at the bags and leave stress-free’ and five of his female rookie boxers want to start competing.
For Gibson's girls the boxing club is replacing the pub as a place to unwind after a hard day. A good thing too, as alcohol and boxing don't mix.
‘You cannot box if you have been drinking at the weekend and bingeing on rubbish food, it is not like football or tennis where you can get away with it - in boxing you can never get away with it, especially in my gym’, says Wayne Gardiner, 30, Sports Co-ordinator at Portsmouth University.
One of Gardiner's top female students is Holly Keats, 23, a PHD student, studying Neuro Biology at the University. Keats is also an acute asthma sufferer.
‘Through boxing, I have found that everything comes naturally together and just works for my body’. she says. Blighted by breathing problems for most of her life, Keats can now run six miles without wheezing - that's the power of boxing.
Holly Keats says the past five years ‘have seen a huge surge for women, especially after all the bad press and reputation’ and she's over-the-moon that women are now able to compete in the Olympics. She's no stranger to the competative ring, sponosred by Nike UK, she's the twice British & English University Champion. She'll probably box for England in the Commonwealth Games in 2014 too.