Irish-Boxing.com has learnt Wicklow County Council have taken back the keys to the successful amateur club and training place of a number of professional fighters and as a result the club will no longer serve the area.
The news comes on the back of last week’s tragic shooting at the harbour club.
The club’s founder and chief coach Pete Taylor suffered non life-threatening injuries, being shot in the arm with the bullet passing through to his chest in an incident which also saw another man, Ian Britton, injured and a third, 50-year-old Bobby Messett, killed. None of the three victims had any involvement in criminality.
While the occurrence pales significantly in comparison to the passing of the much loved and well-respected Messett, the somewhat understandable move is sad news for boxing, the club and the area.
The club, which helped shape one of Ireland’s greatest ever sportspeople in Katie Taylor who won 18 major gold medals whilst a member.
Originally founded in 1996, Bray made history in 2012 when it became the first boxing club in the world to have both a male and female boxer at the same Olympics when Adam Nolan joined Taylor on the Irish boxing team.
Following Taylor’s gold in London, the club underwent a major renovation.
Styled as ‘Taylor Made Boxing Gym’, it was also the home of four active professionals – Gary Cully, Luke Keeler, Sean Turner, and Olympian Davey Oliver Joyce – as well as a host of underage prospects.
Wicklow County Council issued the following statement to Irish-Boxing.com:
Following the tragic incident last week Wicklow County Council has now secured the building.
As owner of the premises, the Council has a responsibility to ensure that the building is restored to a condition fit for community use.
Arrangements are being made to carry out an examination of the facility with a view to undertaking any necessary repairs.
Wicklow County Council is liaising with representatives of the Bray Boxing Club in relation to this matter.
The move comes after Fianna Fáil county councillor Gerry Walsh, a former Garda sergeant, had said that “we will be raising the overall situation of the gym. The council was in control of the premises and it was intended to be a community facility.”
Leeds-born Taylor is currently recovering in hospital following surgery to remove the bullet lodged in his chest.
Over the weekend he told the Sunday Independent that “I cannot believe what has happened.”
“Words will never explain my excruciating anguish and devastation at the horrific, senseless attack at Bray Boxing Club.
“Bobby was my close friend, training partner and sparring mate. I am utterly heartbroken that he is gone. I cannot fathom the excruciating pain and heartache that this horrendous incident has inflicted on Bobby’s family. I cannot imagine their loss.”
“To Bobby’s family and the members of Bray Boxing Club who are my extended family, I express more sorrow than you may ever know or can believe.”
The facility’s professional fighters have been ticking over while Taylor recovers, training in their local clubs. Turner fought on Saturday, being stopped in three rounds by Nathan Gorman in Manchester on the Tyson Fury comeback undercard. Andy O’Neill stood in for Taylor in the corner here.
The town of Bray is also served by St Teresa’s Boxing Club.
Irish-Boxing.com wishes Pete Taylor and Ian Britton speedy recoveries and hopes for a desirable resolution regarding the future of the club which allows it to continue doing its good work.