As much an experience as an exhibition

Group poses for photograph at an exhibition
Sammy McKay (centre, white t-shirt) with collaborators at the opening last night

Brixton library hosts a remarkable exhibition for the next month.

The Champions Within: Portraits of a Boxing Community records and documents how boxing – once seen by some as a dead-end sport that ought to be banned – has both transformed the people who box and has been transformed by them.

Around the walls of the library’s gallery hang pairs of photo portraits. One shows an individual in their everyday persona; the other, as a boxer. All train at Miguel’s gym in Loughborough Junction.

Each pair of portraits has a short written explanation of what boxing means to the individual. Some can also be heard in audio interviews via Spotify.

They range from high-flying businesswomen to school pupils – privileged to poor, young to old, men to women, confident to cautious.

Each testifies to the benefits of boxing training – which include mental and physical health as well as friendship and community.

The exhibition is organised by Champs Within and its founder, professional boxer Sammy McKay.

Based in South London, Champs Within is dedicated to promoting boxing as a means for people of all ages to maintain both physical and mental wellbeing.

Since its inception in 2021 it has showcased how boxing both supports a healthy lifestyle and encourages consistency, discipline and resilience; and how it develops transferable skills and a healthy approach to life.

wide shot of people at an art exhibition

The exhibition features photographers Gianni Fontane, Sammy McKay, Andrew Mcleay, Rakeem Noble and Chelsea Pineda. There are also images captured by Lambeth school students Ana Sofia, Brandon, David, Levi and Samuel, who were mentored by professional photographers.

As much an experience as an exhibition, and featuring local people and an inspiring local institution, it is not to be missed.

Open until Friday 3 May, admission is free and open to all.

  • Library opening times
  • Monday 1–8pm
    Tuesday 10am–8pm
    Wednesday 10am–6pm
    Thursday 10am–8pm
    Friday 10am–6pm
    Saturday 9am–5pm
    Sunday 12–5pm


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