Club case study: Squared Circle Boxing Academy

February 25, 2022 | by Matt Halfpenny


Cambridge club Squared Circle Boxing Academy is really beginning to establish itself after starting out in 2018.

So called because boxing rings used to be round – the club was set up by Justin Spring, who is proud that it is helping shape young people positively through sport.

The club was initially based at Bottisham but moved to the Cambridge suburb Barnwell and is still in the process of expanding, with sessions are currently held at the Cambridge Spiritual Centre on Newmarket Road in the city.

With sessions proving popular, some attendees come from as far afield as Cambourne, Littleport and Ely.

Happily, Cambridge contractors J&N Contracts have also come on board as sponsors.

Spring is pleased with progress at Squared Circle, which he combines with his day job of running his own flat roofing business.

Among the sessions he runs are those for eight to 11-year olds, 12 to 16-year-olds and adults aged 17 and above – totalling around 50 people who regular walk through the doors at his England Boxing-affiliated gym.

He says ‘getting kids off the street’ was one of his major motivations in setting up the club, which caters to people from all backgrounds, and has already experienced success in that regard.

“We’ve had quite a few good stories from Mums and Dads about how it’s developed the kids and changed some behaviour as well,” he told Cambridgeshire Live.

“We’ve had a couple that have suffered with behavioural problems at school, but they’ve since seen a significant improvement.”

“There was a lot of knife crime, a lot of drugs on the street, and I wanted to do something about it. I’ve been asked by parents, who feel they can’t do anything with their child, if it’s okay to bring them down and sometimes I have a little chat with them.

“I have one boy whose school pays for him to come and box and if he’s naughty at school he’s not allowed to do the session.”

Justin feels that running the club has helped him come through his own personal problems too.

He added: “I was drinking and it pulled me away from all that, and I just think it saved me. The club is a place to go and concentrate on what you’re doing and you put everything into boxing.”

A former boxer himself of 30 years’ standing, Justin attended local amateur clubs Howard Mallett, Cambridge ABC, DC Boxing Club and New Astley.

His grandfather, Herbert ‘Curly’ Smart, was a boxer, and so is his brother Jason and nephew Brandon as well as his children Tommy (8), Elsie (10) and Archie (15).

The moment Justin knew that the venture, into which he has put in some of his own money, was worthwhile was when he attended the very first competition at which boxers from his club competed.

“Hearing Squared Circle Academy from the announcer put a lump in my throat,” he said. “Getting the first boxer out at our first show was definitely a highlight.”

For more info on the club, check out their Facebook page by clicking here.