Alan’s Dad took him boxing for the first time ever when he was just a kid. He might’ve been a bit hesitant at first, but little did Alan know that boxing would end up being a major part of his life - for over 50 years.
If you’d have told a young Alan Roberts that he’d still be boxing at the age of 63, he probably would’ve laughed at you. When he was first introduced to the sport by his Dad, he was nervous stepping into the ring.
Despite this, Alan’s Dad persevered and they soon found that not only did Alan have a natural talent for the sport – but he loved it.
Aptly nicknamed Alan ‘Sugar Al’ Roberts, Al continued to box as he grew up.
He was dedicated and passionate, and so his talent began to grow. He even had several offers to turn pro. Unfortunately, he couldn’t take them up due to a failed medical down to his eyesight.
‘It hasn’t detracted from my enjoyment of the sport’ says Al.
At one point in his life, he took quite a few years away from the boxing scene. Like a lot of people, he put having a family first. He watched his children grow up, prioritising their lives over his.
Later in life, as Al and his family grew and got older, he had more time on his hands. A friend of Al’s asked him to train him in the ring. ‘I did and it was great fun’ says Al, ‘so I went and got qualified’, so he could train other people and keep doing what he loves.
As a newly qualified boxing instructor, Al decided to start doing classes for more senior people, teaching them how to use boxing to keep fit and generally be more active.
The word ‘boxing’ conjures up images of ‘young people’ Al tells us, and although the training aspect of boxing is so intense, and is second to none, ‘you can do it at any age’.
Al’s new senior classes will take place at the Swindon Brunel ABC, a new amateur boxing club in Swindon town centre.
Alan’s brother, Brian Roberts, runs the boxing club, which even has a bar area, TV, gym equipment and a football table.
‘Boxing teaches a lot of discipline, in your eating habits and your lifestyle’ says Al. He truly believes that boxing is for everyone. He says that you can walk in, without ever having stepped foot in a gym before and take to the sport.
Al’s boxing success didn’t come without its struggles. A few years ago, he suffered a heart attack which lead to him needing to get a stent fitted. He had the surgery last year and made a full recovery.
Whilst Al doesn’t box competitively anymore, he knows that boxing helped him to recover from his surgery, with his body responding better to the treatment he’s had because of his healthy lifestyle.
Boxing not only keeps Al busy and healthy in the present, but also connects him to a nostalgic time in his past. He says that ‘getting back in the ring and taking people on the pads’ takes him ‘a long way back in time’.
Although he started boxing a long time ago, it means a lot to Alan that he can step into the ring and think ‘I’ve done this before, and I can do it still!’ – it’s amazing.
“You’re never too old to get in the ring!”
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