MORE than 200 youngsters had chance to get in the ring and try their hand at boxing when Team Pumpkin set up camp at Merry Hill.

The team behind the Brierley Hill gym set up a boxing ring in the shopping centre to encourage young people to try out the sport and understand the health and mental benefits it can bring.

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb stopped off to see the pop-up boxing ring in action – having worked with Team Pumpkin, run by Carl and Ben Collins, on initiatives to help tackle knife crime.

The MP also met Tyler Denny, current EBU European champion, and Kirstie Bavington, who is in the top four boxers in England and the Midlands female boxer of the year 2022.

Suzanne said: “I was really happy to pop into Merry Hill and support Team Pumpkin.

“Boxing gyms like this one undertake tremendous work across the West Midlands giving young people focus, discipline and a great work ethic while teaching them respect for others and the knowledge that hard work pays off.”

Carl said of the event: "We had over 200 children get in the ring and put some gloves on and have a go at doing some pads and many of them had never boxed before.

“Others said they used to box for a club but stopped for Covid when all gyms had to shut and never went back and this is quite common.

“We signposted several children and their parents to a local gym near them. Hopefully a number of them will follow it through and either take up the sport of boxing for the first time or get back into it.”

He thanked Merry Hill for inviting them to put on the event in the mall and he added: “We’re already looking at making the next one even bigger and better."

Jonathan Poole, centre manager at Merry Hill, said: "Team Pumpkin Boxing is a vital local organisation who are transforming the lives of the community, and we were delighted to welcome them to the centre.

"It was very well received from our visitors too, who were thrilled to learn more about the sport, get involved and hear about the fantastic work Carl and Ben Collins are doing.

"We've been pleased to support the gym in a number of initiatives over recent months and look forward to working with them further this year."