An international boxing identity, former world champion boxer and Moree's own Australian champion TC Priestley were among the guests at the official opening of Chalky's Boxing Gym on Saturday.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall officially opened the newly-established boxing gym on Saturday, in front of a large crowd of boxers and community members.
Mr Marshall was full of praise for the not-for-profit association, which not only aims to provide an affordable place for people of all ages to learn the sport of boxing and keep fit, but gives disadvantaged youth the opportunity to find their passion, build their strength and resilience and aim to succeed in sport.
"It's impressive to think that it's only been two months since they came up with the idea for the gym," Mr Marshall said.
"It's a magnificent concept.
"A lot of people like to commentate or bemoan the issues Moree is facing, particularly with youth, but it takes a special person to get in and do something about it.
"With no money or financial backing, they saw a need and just got in there and came up with a practical solution.
"I think this is one of the most positive things that's happened in Moree in a little while. Full credit to them."
The boxing gym has been funded through sponsorship secured by Moree boxer TC Priestley's manager Robert Burton, who set up the Gwydir Youth Development Association to operate the gym.
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 idea is for it to be a community gym, open to anyone who wishes to join, regardless of their socioeconomic status or race.
Since the boxing gym opened its doors on June 15, 36 members have signed up with six new members joining following Saturday's opening.
"We're tickled pink by the support from everyone," Chalky's Boxing Gym coach Colin 'Chalky' Rice said.
"There's a buzz going around about it; a lot of kids are keen to put on the gloves.
"We love it; I don't think we've got one bit of bad feedback yet."
The gym has also attracted the attention of Australian champion boxer Anthony Mundine, who visited earlier this month for a spar with Priestley and a mentoring session with some of the local boxers.
About 130 people attended the opening on Saturday, with a barbecue provided and a number of boxing demonstrations throughout the day.
International boxing trainer Mark Pitts and Patrick Moore, the founder of the Boxout Boxing Fitness Business ran some training demonstrations. Pitts got in the ring with one of the boxing gym's female boxers Charlotte Meppem for a focus mitts demonstration, while Moore jumped in the centre with Priestley to show off TC's speed to the crowd.
Burton, Moree rugby league and rugby union player Jamie Sampson and NSW Boxing Association development officer for Western NSW Garry McKernan were the other special guests, with McKernan bringing a number of members from his Coonabarabran boxing gym. Members from the Inverell boxing gym also attended the opening, along with local boxers and community members.
Chalky said it was a great day.
Chalky's Boxing Gym currently has five classes a week, with senior boxing classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and beginners and fitness classes on Tuesday and Thursday. They're in the process of starting junior classes, but this has been difficult with COVID-19 restrictions. Lately, Chalky has had to divide up classes, as he's been getting more than the 20-person limit turn up.
Anyone interested in going along to a session can visit the Chalky's Boxing Gym Facebook page for more information.