Numbers continue to rise at newly opened Chalky's Boxing Gym

Colin 'Chalky' Rice and TC Priestley at the newly opened Chalky's Boxing Gym. Photo: supplied.
Colin 'Chalky' Rice and TC Priestley at the newly opened Chalky's Boxing Gym. Photo: supplied.

A single phone call was all that was need to kick start the creation of Chalky's Boxing Gym, a brand new boxing and fitness gym in Moree.

The whole thing begun after Moree boxer TC Priestley contacted his manager Robert Burton with a desire to find a more suitable training facility for himself, coach Colin 'Chalky' Rice and the other boxers that were training with Chalky at the time.

Within a week, Chalky had found a space for the gym and Burton had secured sponsorship to set up the Gwydir Youth Development Association which would operate the gym.

"I got some sponsorship with enough capital to set the gym up. Everything that has been done there has been covered by sponsors," Burton said.

"The idea is to set up a community gym that's available to everybody.

"TC will have a proper gym to train in. They can train any other fighters in town and anyone else who wishes to join.

"It's free if you can't afford to pay. It's open to everyone."

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The Gwydir Youth Development Association is made up of first officer Robert Burton, secretary Toutai Hala, boxing coach Chalky Rice, boxing and rugby coach Mark Pitts, and Australian boxing champion and youth mentor TC Priestley.

"The slogan [of the Gwydir Youth Development Association] is 'creating opportunities through sport', because the people we've got involved like TC who works in Indigenous disability programs, Mark Pitts who runs Indigenous rugby programs for NSW Rugby, there was a lot of interest and expertise in youth mentoring in the group," Burton said.

The first training session was held on June 15, which have already been extremely popular with numbers continuing to grow.

Chalky said in the first week they were getting up to 20 people to each session, sometimes more, which made it difficult with coronavirus restrictions still in place.

"We had to stand a couple down," he said.

"We're going to be doing an extra two nights a week and split the classes up.

"The numbers are there. It just makes it a bit easier on our fighters. We've got probably half a dozen amateur fighters and we've got to be able to spend time with them."

There are two different types of classes available, with one more focused on boxing and the other concentrating on fitness.

"With the boxers, there'll be a lot of fitness technique, sparring and heavier work like that," Chalky said.

"With the boxing fitness classes, it's mainly punching bags, doing exercises and mixing up both.

"You train them all as individuals on the night. Everyone feels like they've got a spot here.

"We have a good talk to them before they train, before they have their first session, and then we get a feel for them and we try and match them up with someone on their own fitness level. We monitor everything they do."

Chalky emphasised that the gym is open to anyone who wishes to join.

"Our main aim is just to get everyone involved, let them know there's other sports out there," he said.

The building has access to great facilities, including bathrooms, meeting rooms and even bedrooms, which could potentially be used for future training camps with people able to stay over the weekend.

Burton said they're hoping the space can also be used for other community groups in the future.

"Hopefully the other community groups that need space, mentoring programs...all these people that are looking to help kids, particularly Indigenous kids in the area; we're hoping that we'll be there for them," he said.

Anyone that is interested in going along to a session can visit the Chalky's Boxing Gym Facebook page for more information.