A couple of weeks back I took a visit to Bonymaen boxing gym. Eddie Jay who is down as the main point of contact was good enough to show me around. Eddie told me how the gym was started 30 years ago by Enzo Macrenellis father Mario. Enzo has since taken over for the last 4 years full time. When I say full time we are open four nights a week. Barllow runs the gym with me, I am the chairman. The gym is open Monday, Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.
There was quite a bit of sparring going on when I was there. I have to say I was very impressed with the level of skills on show and really enjoyed watching how the gym was run. Eddie mentioned how there were two champions in the gym when we was there, a young Italian champion and his grandson. I thought it was really busy when I was there but I was told that it was quiet, so the club is obviously really well used – about 15 juniors had been there before I had been in.
Eddie told me that they can not compete until they are at least 11 years of age but they can spar from the age of ten. It was great to see how tight-nit the gym is, Eddie was saying how his son in law is a lawyer, who is involved at the gym. As is my daughter who is also a lawyer, we are all involved here the Macrenellis. Enzo and his mum Lesley, son in law and myself, it’s like the Macrenelli-Jones gym. There is another gym next door to the one we were in. There was a lot of sparring going on when I was talking to Eddie, he was telling me about the different fighters, one of them Shay Odonnel, he’s Welsh, a brilliant boxer, he’s Enzos nephew. He was telling me about his grandson who is 18 who first came to the gym with Mario. But then he moved to the Midlands, he had 5 years there and won the Midlands title but then came back.
I asked Eddie what people could expect from their first time at the gym and if they could spar straight away, he told me that it would tend to be at least 6 months. That they would do shadow boxing first and work on the bags before going in the ring. Eddie went on to tell me about the first time Enzo went in to the ring, and how he was talking to Mario Enzos father and asking if he was sure he was ready to go in the ring, Mario replied are you telling me I don’t know if my boy is ready ? But he was a natural, some of us have to work hard for it. Eddie told me that in his opinion Enzo was not always given the best advice he could have had during his career. As a man he’s so fit he trains all the time, he is very clean living you wont see Enzo out in the clubs, he doesn’t drink does not smoke or take drugs. Wherever he goes in the world, Germany , Italy wherever, he insists that he is introduced as Enzo Macrenelli from Swansea in Wales . Always Swansea first and Enzo is the only man from Swansea to win the world title. The others that have tried are Ronnie James who funnily enough is from Bonymaen, Ryan Pervis, Colin Jones and Floyd Havard but Enzo is the only one to do have succeeded.
I was told how at the start of the night what I had missed is, they go for around a three mile run, then they go on the bag, they do loosening up exercises then they spar if not they work on the bag doing various combination shots and so on. But the bag doesn’t hit back. I have seen Enzo hit a bag down there, and it comes off the hinges, it went through the roof. Eddie went on to say how the gym is like a boxing gym should be it’s a ‘boot camp’, no mugs are wanted here. He told me that if they find any of the boxers putting their weight around on the street then they are out. He went on to tell me how blunt Mario would be and how someone had come in because their son had been bullied in school and how Mario replied by saying I am not here to teach people how to beat people up on the street, if you want to come here you learn to box not beat people up. At the end of the night, I spoke to Enzo who said that he would like to have another fight because he has had 49 fights. I am Swansea ’s only ever world champion, I still got the highest win lose ratio in Britain . I still have the most knockouts in Britain at the moment. I would like to go out after 50 rather than 49, so don’t listen to what Ediie has been saying ha ha. I asked if Enzo and anything lined up for his 50th fight. No not yet, I have been sparing with a couple of boys, I wont mention no names, but they are top level and I can handle myself quite easily to be honest. Enzo went on to say how it was the first night back after a break for everyone and it was the first night back sparing and that they were looking sharp.
Enzo was saying that the problem at the gym is, if you look at the amount of kids we have got in the class and from earlier as well, only about two are from Bonymaen. They tend to be coming from Sketty and all over the place, it’s a good outlet for them here but they don’t seem to use it. I think a lot of them perhaps have a bit of a chip on their shoulder, maybe they think they are this or that – but it would be great for them to come here. If they want to fight they can come and fight without getting arrested. I think a lot of people come here because the gym has got a good reputation and we all have a laugh as well, I will get the best out of people as well.
I really enjoyed watching some of the sparring at Bonymaen gym. Thanks to Eddie and Enzo for showing me around. The gym is really well run and you can see the enthusiasm that everyone has for the place. You can see why people come from further a field to use Bonymaen boxing gym but as Enzo said it would be great to have more local people involved down there. You could not wish to meet a more welcoming bunch, a really good gym run properly. Anyone thinking about going or have a child that may be interested in going, you will be in good hands going up to Bonymaen.