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Former British boxing champ opens gym in Coppull
8:00am Tuesday 8th January 2013 in Leisure
His desire to fight on still burns within, but Michael Jennings is taking his first steps as a trainer after opening a new gym for up-and-coming boxers.
Jennings hopes to return to the ring early in 2013 after a two-year lay-off since a loss to Kell Brook, in a fight that ended prematurely because of a cut.
But Lurcher, who fought Miguel Cotto at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2009, is also eager to give something back to the people of home town Chorley as well as testing his own ability as a potential trainer.
Together with brother Dave, the 35-year-old has opened the Jennings Community Boxing Academy at Coppull Mill.
The brothers have already taken their professional badges and Jennings has been pleased with the number of youngsters who are visiting the newly opened gym.
“I just want to do something for the community, that is important to me,” he said.
“It’s a community gym, a non-profit organisation. We have about 30 or 35 in every night and if we have to put extra sessions on we will do.
“The youngest is about seven and the oldest is 30. It’s a big age range and we put on different sessions for them.
“We just wanted to get kids off the street. If they’re in the gym, they’re not hanging about.
“I’ve seen what boxing can do for people and how it can help them. It helped me.”
Jennings, who has been British champion and WBU world champion at welterweight, is regarded as a smart technical fighter and thinks that could be an advantage as he looks to assess his skills as a trainer.
“I want to see if as a trainer I can help young boxers,” he said.
“I just want to have a successful gym and hopefully bring people through who can have success at amateur and professional level.”
But that does not mean his own boxing career is over.
Jennings also has a security firm that played a role in the recent comeback fight of friend Ricky Hatton.
But Jennings, who is on his way back from a shoulder injury and is now trained by Joe Gallagher, still has ambitions of fighting for titles.
Brook, his last opponent, is now preparing to fight for the world title.
“The frustration has been unbelievable,” said Jennings about his lay-off.
“It’s just seeing time pass by and seeing other fighters go on.
“It is hard seeing Kell Brook go on knowing that he only beat me on a cut, and believing I could have beaten him.
“But he has done very well and I hope he goes on and keeps doing well.
“We did the security for the Hatton fight and it was good to be involved in that because it was a massive event.
“It was a shame he didn’t win but he needed to find out if he still had anything left, so although he lost it has really helped him.
“I’ve had to be patient but I really just want a fight now. I will be fighting in the New Year.
“Although in terms of age I’m old in boxing, I’ve kept myself in shape so in terms of fighting I’m young for my age. I want to see if I still have what it takes.”