Nechells’ mural tribute to founder Ernie

June 27, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


Birmingham-based Nechells ABC have used the time made available by the Coronavirus lockdown to carry out essential refurbishment – and have a mural painted of its founder.

The Midlands club moved to its new gym in mid-2019 and decided that the enforced closure of the gym in order to adhere to government instructions would be a good to give the premises a facelift.

Central to that has been to celebrate the achievements of Nechells stalwart Ernie Holt, aged 82, who continues to put in the hard work for the club.

Depicted on one of the walls in a classic boxing pose, everyone at the club is said to be overjoyed to have such a fitting tribute.

Mark Holt (Ernie’s nephew) is lead coach at the club these days and is delighted to be keeping things in the family.

“The club was founded just over 50 years ago by my uncle Ernie and his brother – and my dad –  Derek Holt,” he said. “I boxed for Nechells for many years and went on to win the Professional Midlands Feather-weight belt in 1990.

“This was a feat which was repeated by a third generation of the family when my son, Paul Holt picked up the Professional Midlands Super-feather belt 26 years later in 2016.

“To this day, uncle Ernie still participates in the coaching and running of Nechells through regular appearances at the gym in which he still keeps a close eye and mentors all those that train there.

“Despite his age, he hasn’t slowed down one bit and can also often be seen at amateur boxing shows near and far to work the corner with the boxers.”

Holt senior is the Honorary life president of The Birmingham Boxing Association, reflecting the impact he has made on the local community.

The mural was purchased in Ernie’s honour by a Nechells boxer, who has been a part of the club for more than a decade and wanted to convey his appreciation for everything that has been done for him.