Gunnedah-based boxing gym, Black n Blue Boxing, has received a big boost, with a donation from Whitehaven Coal set to ensure the gym remains at the heart of the local community for years to come.
Black n Blue is an Aboriginal-run boxing gym and youth centre that has been welcoming locals through its doors for the last 20 years. Owner and Head Trainer, David ‘Spike’ Syphers, and his team run daily classes, catering for kids from under 12s right through to adults.
Black n Blue does not charge fees for its classes or the use of facilities, instead relying on the support of the local community and businesses like Whitehaven to cover its costs. Whitehaven’s $10,000 contribution will go directly towards the maintenance and upkeep of the gym’s facilities and equipment. Much to the joy of the gym’s budding young boxers, the donation will also support Black n Blue’s annual Gunnedah Fight Night – a popular event within the region that showcases some of the best local talent inside Black n Blue’s ring.
“We are very grateful for Whitehaven’s commitment and ongoing support for the gym and the community behind it,” said David ‘Spike’ Syphers.
“We’re proud to be able to welcome kids and adults from all walks of life to come and train with us and be part of our community at the gym, and that wouldn’t be possible without the support of companies like Whitehaven.
“Their contribution goes a long way towards making the gym operate and be successful.”
Spike is well-supported by his highly experienced coaching staff – Enja Prest, Wade Ryan and Albert Nolan – who are impressive boxers in their own right. Enja currently holds the Australian title in the welterweight division, while both Wade and Albert have previously held the belt for their respective weight classes. The benefit of their boxing expertise is undeniable, but Spike says his training staff’s value to the community extends well beyond their technical knowledge.
“Enja, Wade, and Albert are a big part of the reason this gym is able to have the kind of impact it does in the Gunnedah community,” said Spike.
“They are great role models for our youth, and I know the kids aspire to emulate them.”
This is backed up by Mase, one of the many young locals who’s benefitted from Black n Blue over the years.
“Spike and Black n Blue have given me a lot of direction and support in my life,” said Mase, a Gunnedah local who has been using the gym for the last few years.
“Not only is the gym a place for me to train so I can successfully compete in boxing tournaments and keep fit and healthy, but Spike has also helped me secure full-time work in a local Gunnedah business.
“The gym is a great team to be a part of and it’s had a big impact on my life.”
Black n Blue has established a number of partnerships with other community organisations to extend its positive impact. The gym has worked closely with the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre to provide classes in support of the programs it offers Aboriginal families, such as the Aboriginal Fathers program.
It is also partnering with the newly established Gunnedah Clontarf Academy, which will see the gym open its doors to even more local kids to take part in their youth fitness programs.
Whitehaven Coal General Manager Community engagement, Darren Swain said the company is thrilled to be supporting such an impressive community organisation.
“The impact Spike and his team have had on the local community over the last 20 years is remarkable,” Mr Swain added.
“Black n Blue is clearly more than just a gym, it has created a community and provided opportunities for young kids to better themselves.
“We look forward to continuing to support their great work in the years to come.”