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Boxing great Roy Jones Jnr opens new mixed martial arts gym in Litherland

HUNDREDS of fight fans turned out to witness legendary American fighter Roy Jones Jnr open a Litherland gym on Monday.

The former five weight world champion officially unveiled the Martial Arts and Self Defence Academy, followed by an impromptu speed ball demonstration that stunned the room into silence and then applause.

The Pensacola-born 41 year old professional boxer was welcomed across the threshold by the gym's 27-year-old managing director, Alex Forman.

The Toxteth man, who is a veteran of 39 mixed discipline fights and ten years’ community work in Merseyside, escorted the boxing legend into the ring where Jones held court, posing for photographs and fielding questions with a winning combination of gallows humour and sincerity.

The new gym, which has attracted some support from community minded local businessmen, breathes new life in to the space once occupied by Bridge Road ABC, where a generation of South Sefton lads learned the art of boxing together.

Jones, speaking to the Herald during his whistle stop tour of Merseyside, said: “Young people should join a gym like this because it will teach them discipline, respect, and prepare them for the battle that is called life.

“I love mixed martial arts and have respect for anyone who enters a ring to fight another man, without a weapon in their hand.

“In my view you are less of man with a gun in your hand.

“And remember, you can’t take it to prison with you.”