Stoke City manager Gary Rowett swapped the dug-out for the boxing ring, as he visited IMPACT boxing gym in Fenton on Wednesday to launch the first of a series of charity boxing events.
The Potters boss joined two-time English lightweight champion boxer Scott Lawton in the ring to celebrate 30 years of the Stoke City community trust helping charities in North Staffordshire and even took part in a brief pads session with the ex-Stoke fighter.
The event, a white-collar boxing night, will take place at Stoke-on-Trent’s King’s Hall and will include several former Stoke City players facing off in the ring and being trained by Lawton.
It will be the first of a series of fund-raising events to celebrate the community trust’s milestone and Rowett says it’s something he wants everyone to get behind.
“It’s going to be a good event,” Rowett told Staffs Live.
“It’s really important that the community go out and do these events that they’re so brilliant at and it’s also important we try and support it as a club.
“I think also involving local businesses and local sports clubs is also a brilliant way of putting on these events.
“This first event will be a really exciting event and certainly something I’d be interested in, not fighting in of course, but one I’d like to watch and I think it’s a really good idea.”
“It’s something we all want to support. The community trust does some fantastic work with some fantastic initiatives in the city to support so many different projects.
“This is an event which is really good so hopefully people will get behind it and hopefully people will pay some good money to come and see it and support something which is a fantastic initiative.”
White collar boxing is a form of boxing where people who have no experience of taking part in the sport put on the gloves to fight in various events.
As a Stoke City fan himself, Scott Lawton is the perfect candidate to train the athletes ahead of the occasion and he says that he “can’t wait” and that the event is a great idea.
“I think it’s a good idea to be fair,” Lawton said.
“Football is a massive part of everyone’s life and to get a few of the ex-players boxing then it’ll be a big event for everyone to watch.
“There’ll be loads of Stoke fans who’ll want to come and see their local heroes in the ring and see what they can do and I think what the community trust does in helping people in everyday life is great so it’s also for a really good cause.
“It’s going to be good to train the ex-Stoke players as a Stoke City fan myself and I can’t wait.
“It shouldn’t be that hard as they already have that sportsman mentality so usually if you do sports then you want to do the best you can do about it so I’m pretty sure there’ll be good to work with.”