CCL Sponsorship Boosts Aspirations in the Boxing Ring and Beyond
Boxer Louis Lye, 25, is a painter and decorator by trade who first took to the boxing ring in his mid-teens. His trainer/manager is Robert Lloyd-Taylor – that’s a name you might recognise if you’re into the sport. Robert retired from a 16-year professional boxing career just three years ago. He has recently opened his first boxing club, dedicated to developing the skills and careers of young boxers and ultimately, to helping address the surge in gang violence and knife crime by guiding disaffected teenagers away from gang culture and into the boxing ring.
CCL has sponsored both Robert Lloyd-Taylor’s New Kings Gym and Boxer Louis Lye, and is taking a keen and committed interest in both Louis’s career and Robert’s ambitions for his fighters, and the gym. We interviewed both Robert and Louis to find out more about how boxing has impacted their lives and what drives them to succeed.
Professional Light-Heavyweight Boxer
Q: Louis, tell us how you got into boxing and where you are now
I first went to a boxing club in Slough when I was 14, with the idea of losing weight. I didn’t really enjoy it back then and didn’t stick at it. But at the age of 16 I took it back up again, at my dad’s old club, which was in Hayes. I had my first amateur fight after about three months and things have gone from strength to strength.
I turned professional in July 2018. Robert is my Manager/Trainer, and I train at his gym, New Kings in Northolt. I had my first professional fight in September and my second on 9thMarch, which I won, unanimously on points.
Q: What’s your training regime like?
I train six days a week, two or three times a day. Normally I do strength and conditioning in the mornings, then I go to work, and then go in for a boxing sesison in the evening. I rest one day a week, either Saturday or Sunday.
On the approach to a fight, I train perhaps half as much as usual, just three or four sessions in the week before the fight. That’s because it’s important to conserve strength and energy for the fight.
Between fights Robert helps me keep an eye on my diet and manage my weight steadily, to avoid the dreaded yo-yo.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in your boxing career?
My long-term goal is to become a full-time boxer. To get there, I need to keep improving, keep winning and get on to title fights – British, European and eventually World titles.
To get there I need fights, and the way things work these days, it’s the boxer’s responsibility to sell the tickets! If you can sell tickets, putting ‘bums on seats’, then you can fight. That means a lot of gruntwork goes into promoting yourself through social media with videos, interviews and images.
Then of course, you need to be watchable and put on a good fight. Oh, it helps if you can win too!
I’m really lucky though. With CCL sponsoring me, I won’t have to worry as much about the promotional side of things. I’ll get more visibility from the sponsorship connection. That frees me up to concentrate all the more on my skills and fitness. I know CCL’s sponsorship is going to make a real difference to me.
Q: What message do you have to young people curious about boxing?
It took me a little while to realise the benefits of getting involved in boxing, and my message to other young people is to get into it as early as you can. It’s a great sport for teenagers from all backgrounds. It keeps you off the streets and out of trouble. It’s not violent as people sometimes assume – it’s actually the opposite. In boxing you learn self-discipline, control, good self-management.
It’s great from the health angle too, good for all-round fitness and for developing healthy eating habits which stay with you your whole life.
Trainer/Manager and Owner of New Kings Gym:
Q: Robert, tell us more about you and your background in boxing
I was a professional light-middleweight boxer for 16 years. I always knew I wanted to transition into being a trainer/manager eventually, but wasn’t sure when. So I got my trainer/manager’s licence whilst I still held my licence to box. I finally gave up boxing professionally just three years ago.
After those 16 years, I had a name in boxing. Then almost overnight, I went from being an old boxer, to a young trainer. It was like starting from scratch again. Now though, my reputation as a trainer/manager is beginning to get some traction.
Q: You’ve recently opened your own gym, New Kings Boxing. How did that come about?
It’s been quite a journey!
All the boxers I now work with at New Kings Boxing know me from when I was active – in fact I’ve known most of them since they were kids. A while back, one came to me looking for help to train. We worked something out at a friend’s gym, as best we could. Then his brother joined us, then another boxer and another – and in the space of no time at all, I had 10 guys who wanted to train under me.
It was very rewarding but it wasn’t easy and we trained wherever we could. Despite the difficulties, the guys stuck with me. I realise they could have dropped me any time, but they didn’t, and their loyalty through this period was important to me. It made me realise what we could achieve, if only we had our own space. I wanted to repay that loyalty with a stable training facility.
In October 2018 I self-funded to set up the gym, in Northolt, West London. At first, it was just a room. I paid the rent one month at a time, and gradually added equipment, as and when I could afford it. Whilst the member numbers weren’t there, I covered the expenses myself. You have to start somewhere, don’t you? But the gym is gaining a reputation now, as people are seeing our success, with boxers like Louis.
Q: How does getting sponsorship from companies like CCL impact you?
CCL’s investment in New Kings Boxing has been a real breakthrough. In fact, I don’t think they quite realise just how much it has meant to us. It’s lifted a huge stress off my shoulders, the worry about where the money is coming from, month by month. It’s enabled me to concentrate on supporting and training our boxers. And of course, when I can give more time to the boxers, they stand a much greater chance of being successful. And it’s not only they who benefit; the gym gets a knock-on effect from their success.
Q: What’s your role in Louis’s boxing career
I’m close to all the boxers I guide, and first and foremost, Louis is my friend. We’ve known each other for many years, from when he was young. Now I’m training and managing him, helping him to improve as a boxer and plan out his boxing career. The most satisfying thing for me is seeing him grow as a person, as well as a boxer. He’s going from strength to strength.
After his recent fight, he took a few days off, but he’s back in the gym already. His next fight is in April. He’s already fit enough, so we build up slowly, managing the training so he doesn’t overdo it ahead of the fight.
In addition to Louis, I look after several other fighters. Everyone is doing well, and focused on supporting one another to get to the next level. Part of my vision is to get my promoter’s licence, so I can start staging shows locally in West London, to gain more visibility for all the fighters who train under me.
Boxing can be a cutthroat business and I want the best for all my boxers – I want to see them achieve and exceed their potiential. That’s why I’m so delighted that CCL is sponsoring Louis too, as well as New Kings. It means he’ll be able to fight regularly.
Q: Tell us about your plans to use boxing to help combat knife crime
There have been teenage deaths from stabbings in Northolt and I want to do something positive, to help combat knife crime. Our plan is to set up an anti-knife crime social enterprise around boxing, called Off the Streets and Into the Ring. We want to offer a dedicated day/time when anyone can come in, free of charge, to a safe space, where we can help them through sport, and by giving them a different focus.
I was a troubled teen myself. Two of my close schoolfriends ended up in prison and things could have gone the same way for me. But boxing helped me to mature and channel my energies more prodictively. Boxing taught me self-discipline and self-control, the kind of values which could change the lives of today’s young gang members as much as they helped me.
Q: Do you have any more big plans?
I’m passionate about boxing and about helping to bring people forward from grass roots to amateur, to professional and even championship status. Historically, this has always been an East London thing. It doesn’t exist in West London… yet.
So, in the future, my aim is to set up a larger gym, in Uxbridge, to draw in people from a wider catchment area. I envisage a place with two boxing rings and everything for the boxer – gym and boxing equipment together – all under one roof; with a canteen/social area too, so people will be able to watch boxing together, knowledge-share and learn about the history of the sport. I want to create a place with a sense of community and belonging, where boxing talent can thrive.
Robert and Louis are active on social media, posting videos, images and inspirational quotes designed to encourage people to see the possibilities of the sport for themselves. Check them out on these channels: