Rival boxers back in the ring to set up knock-out gym

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By Andrea McCallum

A PAIR of Scottish boxing rivals have traded in their punches to help transform an ancient church into a training ring.

Former world champion Willie “Mighty” Quinn and Alex Brown put their competitive days behind them to open the Bronx Boxing Gym in East Lothian – a centre to train future stars of the sport.

And their every move will be documented on TV thanks to a BBC property programme.

Mr Brown, 46, from Tranent, and Mr Quinn came to blows over 20 years ago in the Capital’s Portobello Town Hall.

Their fight was cut short back in 1988 when Mr Brown had to quit after a cut above his eye.

He said: “This is like unfinished business for me.

“I want to produce a Scottish, British and world champion from the gym, which we hope will be here for a very long time.”

Mr Brown was a bright spark from the age of 11 when he trained at the Sparta Amateur Boxing Club in Edinburgh.

But he was forced to take a three-year-break from boxing in his mid-teens while he battled tuberculosis.

Quinn went on to have a successful career as an amateur boxer whereas Mr Brown started up a flooring business in Musselburgh.

And he kept his fitness up by running seven marathons in four years.

So with an eye for management and a dream to open a gym, Mr Brown snapped up the former Methodist Church on Bridge Street, Tranent, when it went up for auction last October.

And BBC property show Homes Under The Hammer were filming the bids that day.

Mr Brown said: “That was great fun. They did the first bit of filming at the church in November and they are to come back soon when we’re up and running, to film for the follow-up show.

“It’s expected to broadcast in the spring.”

The friendly duo came up with the venture to give people a chance to develop their fitness and boxing skills.

And the gym will also function as a fitness centre for general public use.

Mr Quinn will work as a part-time coach due to his off-shore work leaving Mr Brown and former Scottish boxing coach George Bordon to take the lead.

Mr Brown added: “George will clearly be the main coach and I’ll learn from him.

“If you want to be the best, you should learn from the best.”

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