A boxing club may seem an unlikely choice as a place of sanctuary, but it has proved just that for two ‘fighters’ in Inverness who sought the help of such an arena to come to terms with their respective disabilities.
As The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, once said: “You don’t lose if you get knocked down. You lose if you stay down.”
It is a mantra seemingly adopted by Inverness Amateur Boxing Club newcomer, Clare McIntosh from Inverness.
She has learned to live with retinitis pigmentosa and has refused to let the burden of lockdown take its toll, turning to her local boxing club for escape.
Five months into an impressive fitness regime at the Grant Street club, the 29-year-old said: “It’s not only fitness wise. Mentally, it’s been a massive help for me. It’s nice to have a place to come to, an event, to blow off some steam.
“I’ve got no peripheral vision but a tiny bit of central vision and my optician told me recently that the average person has a 220-degrees field of vision.
“I’ve just got two degrees but the boxing training has helped massively in that respect. If I’m frustrated, I can just come here and recover.”
Thirteen-year-old Danny Reid, another popular character at the club, has made phenomenal progress during four years as a member.
Daily workouts have helped improve his mobility. He suffers from cerebral palsy.
He said: “It’s made a good difference because I had a bad leg and a bad arm but they’re a wee bit okay now because I’ve been coming a very long time. I couldn’t cycle a bike or skip or anything at the start but now I’ve learned a lot and that’s helped me.”
The mastermind behind the coaching is former flyweight Laurie Redfern.
He said: “You make them believe. I have a joke with them and I want them to relax. I just want them to be one of the crowd.”