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Fighting spirit: remembering the boxing gym that gave Polish youth hope

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Located in Załęże, an industrial district in the north-west of Katowice, Poland, 06 Kleofas boxing club had been a training ground and a community treasure for half a century. With the closure of plants and ironworks in the early Noughties, the sports centre, owned by the coal mine, became a safe haven for those affected by the lack of jobs, especially young men. “For years it had been one of the most dangerous districts in Katowice. This is why 06 Kleofas boxing club was an important point on Katowice’s map. It gave young people something to do other than hang on the streets — a routine of training, a chance to gain a discipline and achieve something in sport,” explains Wiktor Kubiak, who trained there as a child but had to quit after an injury. Always feeling there was something special about the place, he returned there later in life to document the final training sessions and boxing galas in the gym. The building was demolished in 2015 and the club is now split between the sports centre of the GKS Katowice football club and The Academy of Physical Education. Worn out but still standing, the gym is crowned Załęże’s true champion in Kubiak’s series.

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