THE BASICS: Moreno Boxing. Proper boxing. Dalston. Short walk from Dalston Station. £12 for a drop in class. What more do you need to know?
THE BITCHES: Sophie and Carly
THE CLASS: I’d heard about this plucky young Portuguese Champion, Carlos Moreno, quietly building a bit of a cult following at his boxing gym in this here cool part of London. I was obviously keen to take Sophie up on her suggestion to try out a class, to make up my own mind.
Little did I think I’d end up sparring with Carlos half way through my first lesson, while he goaded me “come on, do it PROPERLY! Give me something, Commmme ooooon, give me something!”
The gym is clean, modern and RED. A rectangle with lots of space for your gym kit to be stored, loads of mirrors, and punch-bags around the front edge of the space. Class sizes don’t exceed 12- quality over quantity.
50:50 ration of guys to girls turned up. The grimy hip hop sounds vibrating round the gym as people arrived set the atmosphere. You felt pretty grisly, ready to grit your teeth and sweat with that vibe going on.
People were saying hi and one guy (dude at the front of this pic in fact) asked me if I needed some help, which I thought was really nice- this kind of welcome isn’t often experienced in gyms in this vast city of ours. Carlos set people off on the bags, warming up, while he came over to me and patiently, gently showed me how to put wraps on my hands.
For me that set the tone that he really did care about every single person in that class and valued their custom. Had he been different and snappy with me as a newbie, I could have had a very different experience.
His patience and willingness to take 2 minutes to help me feel comfortable and confident spoke volumes about the sort of club he’s creating.
As it was my first class, I worked in a little corner at the front while others did some drills, both with partners and on the bags. I got LOADS of 1 on 1 time with Carlos, again, something I wasn’t expecting.
He showed me how to perfect my technique, while increasing my power. He kept it light and friendly too- every time I let my guard get lazy, he swiped me in the ribs or the side of the head- that quickly taught me my weak spots and where to be ready to protect.
I was let loose on the bag once I had my jab looking passable, and I CANNOT describe the amount of sweat pouring off of me at this point.
Others in the gym were moving onto sparring now. Back and arm taps only (no face, no torso).
I was still aware of some pretty powerful stuff going on around me, while I got to do a little glove and pad work with Carlos. He was pushing me to stay focused, getting me to jab harder, hook with power, think about my technique, not get lazy. It was bloody hard. But so, SO good.
Finally- I got to spar with Sophie! Yay! I could describe it, but instead- here’s a little insta video taken by Carlos us two little gnomes sparring (Me basically just defending myself weakly as Sophie’s rains blows down upon me).
I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in a long time!!! Boxing shouldn’t be cute!! How did we make it cute?! Hahahaha!
THE VERDICT: This guy gets how powerful it is to give a sh*t about your members. You can feel his work ethic, how much he cares about the class- he’s hungry for it. That’s not summing up the class, you say? Well- actually- it is. Carlos makes this gym. I was very impressed at the vibe, and that’s down to what he’s creating here. Great vibe, you feel badass, and I HONESTLY couldn’t write for 2 days after this. My arms and hands were in shock!
Check it out.