“I watch Mayweather, but unlike everyone else, I want him to win. Most people want him to lose.”

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Leo Berry's Boxing GymFor over 50 years, Melbourne’s iconic Leo Berry’s Richmond Boxing Club has been a valuable training site for underprivileged youth, competitive boxers and casual enthusiasts.

A former professional boxer, Leo Berry founded the gym in 1954 after retiring from a 38-fight career.
He managed the not-for-profit facility until his death – in July 2015 – aged 88.

He left behind a legacy carried on by Bob Foster – a passionate boxing trainer – and his son Brett.

Foster – who has been training since the age of 17 – trains a diverse range of locals from businessmen coming in after a long day’s work, to young teenagers coming in after school.

Foster is content with the simple pleasures of training today’s youth, despite Australia’s waning interest in the sweet science.Leo Berry's Boxing Gym

“All I want to do is train kids, and I’m a happy man. So the more kids I get in here, the better. But those days are passed by. You don’t get a lot of kids anymore in these suburbs.” he said.

“Years gone by, the gym would be packed with young kids. And now most want to go and play football, cricket, soccer, and they go down and swim or whatever they want to do. You don’t get a lot of kids that much anymore.”
Despite the recent decline of boxing’s popularity in Australia, the gym still has a niche following to this day.

“That can be anywhere from 8 to 20, but it varies. Some nights, it might be four. Friday nights are pretty slack, but most nights, you might get 18 guys come in,” Foster said.

Leo Berry's Boxing GymWhen asked about his inspirations, Bob Foster unhesitatingly named two major influences.

“Johnny Famechon, in my opinion, best Australian boxer ever. Muhammad Ali, best boxer ever. And who knows? They’re the two. They were both fabulous boxers, boxer fighters, not just fighters. I like the idea of hitting and not getting hit, and they did that.”

Foster doesn’t follow many of today’s fighters, with one exception.

“I watch [Floyd] Mayweather, but unlike everyone else, I want him to win. Most people want him to lose.”

After almost 60 years in operation, the gym is now in danger of being torn down with a local school proposed to take its place.

“This used to be a school. And apparently it’s going to be a school again, they keep telling us. I don’t know when that’s going to happen, and I hope it doesn’t. They’ll pull usLeo Berry's Boxing Gym down. We’ll be gone,” Said Foster.

While the ultimate fate of the long-standing gym is uncertain, Foster hopes to continue his life’s purpose.
“If I’m coming here every day, I’m a very happy guy. My biggest thing is I just love training people.”