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Rum producer helps local gym pack a punch in community

An award-winning distiller in Leamington is throwing its weight behind the expansion of a local community boxing gym which prides itself on producing champion fighters.

Good sports at Warwickshire Gin Company, have become long term sponsors for Cleary’s Boxing Gym following the recent opening of its new £100,000 premises in Whitnash.

The money will fund new kit as well as amateur boxers’ expenses for competitions and events abroad.

The partnership is a nod to the distiller’s rums, The Pugilist and new release, Sting Like A Bee honey rum, both inspired by Randolph Turpin who went down in British boxing history for his sensational World Title win against the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson and earning himself the nickname ‘The Leamington Licker.’

Warwickshire Gin Company, Cleary's Boxing Gym
Edwin Cleary with the Pugilist rum

The rums use Guyanan rum spirit as a base in honour of Leamington-born Turpin’s Guyanan family heritage.

Dave Blick, who established Warwickshire Gin Company in 2018, said: “With the inspiration behind our Pugilist brand, we are perfectly aligned with Cleary’s.

“With our local legend being Randolph Turpin, boxing is still a very strong sport in Leamington and Warwick and when we were approached about supporting their new gym, we jumped at the chance.

“This is an opportunity to be part of a great project and give opportunities to more youngsters to learn the sport and learn key life skills.

“I have no doubt Cleary’s will be a huge success, being inclusive and also developing youngsters. Edwin Cleary is kind and supportive in addition to being a great coach, who has helped develop current great up and coming boxers such as Lewis Williams and Danny Quartermaine.”

The Pugilist rums are among Warwickshire Gin Company’s range of artisan copper pot-distilled premium gins, rums and vodka. The flavours are developed to represent the county’s own unique story. These include Leamington on Parade, inspired by the true story of three elephants brought over from Sri Lanka to Leamington by circus elephant trainer Sam Lockhart in the 1880s; The Kingmaker – named after Richard Neville 16th Earl of Warwick and Peeping Tom – inspired by the legend of Coventry’s Lady Godiva.

Warwickshire Gin Company, Cleary's Boxing Gym
David Blick with Lewis Williams at Cleary’s Boxing Gym

The non-profit boxing gym is owned by Edwin Cleary, who trained with the Turpins before himself turning professional, and has produced some of Leamington’s and Great Britain’s finest fighters over the last 15 years, including Lewis Williams who won gold at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Refurbishment of the former Whitnash Community Hall was mainly funded through a successful crowdfunding campaign and match-funding by Warwickshire County Council.

Facilities at the new site include three boxing rings (one championship size), a media suite – to record podcasts and do TV and radio interviews – a small conference room for career talks, homework space, lounge area, and showers and changing rooms.

Members now also have access to a sports therapist, physiotherapist, chiropractor and strength and conditioning team five days a week.

Edwin, himself from Whitnash, can now welcome up to 300 members into his gym, from as young as six, and is keen to stress it’s not just about conditioning world champions.

Business partner Kurt Canavan said: “There are lots of benefits of boxing. Everybody is equal here. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, what you do, where you’ve been, as soon as you step into the gym you’re all on a level playing field and that’s very important for mental health as well.

“There are obviously the physical health benefits too and it teaches self-discipline. That’s something we particularly work on with the younger boxers. You have to show the ability to learn, the ability to self-discipline, the ability to work hard and dedicate before you start moving through the ranks. Whether you can box or not at the start it’s not important. It’s about those mental attributes which stand you in good stead for life.”

“We are so grateful for the contribution from our sponsors which allow our fighters to turn up to events looking sharp, fully concentrating on the task in hand, without worrying about organising any of the accommodation or travel. We take care of all of that. We couldn’t do that without this support.”

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Warwickshire Gin Company, Cleary's Boxing Gym, The Pugilist

More about Warwickshire Gin Company

The inspiration behind the Warwickshire Gin Company collection comes from a desire to capture a moment in history, developing flavours to fully represent the county’s own unique story and bringing the range of hand-crafted flavours to life.

The core drinks range is: Kingmaker, The Philosopher’s Daughter, Leamington On Parade, Peeping Tom, Pelota Dry Gin, The Pugilist Spice Blended Rum, Pugilist Sting Like A Bee Honey Rum, Pugilist Ghost Edition White Rum and Kingmaker Vodka.

They also offer visitor experiences including Gin Tasting, Cocktails at The Distillery and their new Afternoon Gin & Tea.