Ringtone Boxing Gym is an unexpected find; tucked in behind the busy transport hub that is Euston station, you'll locate it down a set of stairs, behind an unassuming doorway squeezed in among the vegetarian curry houses along Drummond Street.
Cahoonas writer Amy Andrew starts the circuit of London's Boxing clubs with a visit to Ringtone Boxing Gym. Here's her verdict:-
Owned by professional boxer Ben Day, a former carpenter turned superlightweight area champion, who lovingly made the gym by hand, classes reflect the diverse range of clientele in the Euston/Warren Street area, from mid-morning sessions for taxi drivers and Thursday night LGBT classes, to lunchtime and evening slots that pick up the City and media-types looking for something a bit different from their usual workout. They also have a spattering of celebrity members from time-to-time.
Ben's gym is just a few minutes' walk from Tottenham Court Road and Kings Cross station, so lunchtime and evenings are particularly busy. Classes are tough, but cater for all fitness levels. Burpees seemed to feature rather a lot during the lunchtime session that I attended, and I could feel muscles aching in places I hadn't known existed during the days that followed, thanks to a 10 minute abs circuit at the end of the class - which left me complaining loudly, and smugly, to anyone that would listen about how hard I'd worked at the gym.
Speaking to others at Ringtone, weight loss is a key motivator - one guy, Frank, told me he'd lost six stone since starting at the gym six months before - with before and after pics to prove it!
But what I liked most about the Ringtone classes is the mix of authentic boxing technique with fitness - this is no boxercise class.
The combos and partner or bagwork drills, although fairly straightforward, are on point, and the coach will walk around the class correcting form - so you will actually learn to box as well as get fit. At one point, head coach Greg White even had us working on boxing at angles - again, it was simple, but very different to a lot of other boxing classes on offer in London. If you went regularly, as many of those in the class obviously do, you'd quickly see improvements in skill.
The underground basement gym is surprisingly large - much bigger than you'd expect for such a central location, but doesn't offer much to those that aren't into boxing, although there are some free weights. As with many old-school boxing gyms, the gloves are a bit smelly, so bring your own if you have them. Shower facilities are also pretty terrible (sorry Ben!) although I'm told they are getting an upgrade.
Do not be alarmed if the coach is walking about with a parrot on their shoulder as you enter the gym, or even during class. Paulie, the gym's resident Eclectus, has the run of Ringtone, and between the parrot and Ben, whose cheeky and infectious energy puts newcomers at ease soon as walk in the door (his ring name is fittingly 'The Entertainer'), gym-goers can't help but warm to the experience. Even if you end up hating boxing.
At weekends, Ringtone is open on a Saturdaymorning for classes and sparring, but usually closed in the afternoon and on Sundays. Early morning weekdays Ringtone is also shut first-thing. So it's really aimed at those working nearby or passing through on their commute.
Ladies-only classes and sparring sessions are both very popular, and personal training is also available.
In a nutshell
The draw for Ringtone is the atmosphere; it's upbeat and friendly. You get a proper boxing gym experience - spit and sawdust authenticity (Ben trains there himself leading up to professional bouts), without being intimidating for those wanting a purely fitness experience - in central London, for a reasonable price. The classes are excellent and have you working hard, but are also fun. And you get to learn to box. What more do you need?
Opening times: 7am - 8.30pm Monday - Friday.Saturday 10am - 5.30pm. Sunday closed.
Cost: £70 a month - unlimited classes. Or £15 a class. Block of 10 classes (non-members) £120.
Ladies-only classes: yes
Sparring classes: yes
Personal training: yes
White collar: yes
Address: 141-153 Drummond Street, Kings Cross, London, NW1 2PB.