REMOVING chicken grease, old Christmas trees and discarded freezers were among the challenges for a boxing gym to open in a market basement.
But Wath Amateur Boxing Club fended off the difficulties to open after a six-month refurb in a former butcher’s spot in the town.
More than 150 attended the open day on September 1 - with the age range of those showing interest going from children to 80s.
The venture, led by Wath ABC chairman Darren Coward, has won praise from police and MP John Healey for the potential to increase activities for young people and reduce anti-social behaviour.
Darren said: “Sport like this teaches respect and discipline. I have boxed for most of my life and it has taught me morals, so it would be nice to get a few others in to pass that on and do the same for them.
“You have to build a rapport, not just tick people off.”
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is another fast-growing martial art, including among young people.
Darren said: “It’s gone crazy how popular it is, and parents like it because it’s self defence without the punching.”
The former butcher’s and fruit and veg area - below Wath Indoor Market - has been kitted out with mats, a ring and punch bags for the new family business.
“I can’t explain how messy it was,” said Darren, after the six-month clean-up.
“It hadn’t really been touched in 20 years. There were old Christmas trees, phone chargers for old Nokias but nothing worth any money, unfortunately.
“One room just had five old fridge freezers. There was a caged area, I’m not sure what that was used for.
“The roof had a rotisserie chicken hanger and it took about ten coats of paint on parts of the roof to get rid of the chicken grease.”