Knock Out Knife Crime secures funding to support Hackney young people through boxing

June 2020

Knock Out Knife Crime has secured funding to support The Pedro Club, a valued boxing boxing and community centre in Hackney. We are providing money to support 10 young boxers at the Pedro, including funding training kit such as gloves, headguards, vests and shorts.

This has been made possible by the backing of the iconic Holborn Studios, Europe’s largest photographic studio complex, based on Eagle Wharf Road, Hoxton.

We’ve long admired – and supported – the work that James Cook MBE does at the Pedro. There can be no doubt that boxing gives young people a focus and discipline that is of benefit to society and can help them to turn their lives around. By teaming up with local businesses like Holborn Studios, who really care about the communities in which they operate, KOKC can have a great impact, and especially in this extremely difficult time when so many gyms are closed and the opportunities for young people just aren’t there. We can’t afford to lose clubs like the Pedro.

Dozens of local boys and girls regularly box at the club, which has been closed since the beginning of lockdown in mid-March. The centre also has a music studio, games room and football teams for various ages.

“We love what we do at the Pedro and find that boxing has an amazing impact on the young people we work with, who might otherwise be drawn into gang crime” says James Cook MBE, who saved the gym from closure in 2003. “The coronavirus crisis has been very difficult for us and it’s the first time we’ve had to shut our doors since we rescued the club. This investment from KOKC and Holborn Studios is really welcome and comes at an uncertain time when other sources of funding are being cut. We’re keen to get back open supporting the youngsters who need us.”

Holborn Studios provides ‘definitive studio hire’ and has been the setting for iconic photo shoots since 1979. “We visited Pedro with KOKC shortly before lockdown and as soon as we met James we knew we wanted to help,” says Billy McCartney of Holborn Studios. “It’s inspiring to see young people making the best of themselves and, as a proud part of the same community, we are happy to lend a hand by providing funding to Pedro.”

About the Pedro Club: the Pedro Club was established in 1929 and revived in the 1960s with the support of Dame Elizabeth Taylor, who served as a patron up until her death in March 2011. It was saved from closure by ex-professional boxer James Cook in 2003. Today the Pedro Club remains one of the oldest functioning boxing gyms and youth clubs in London, located in the vicinity of the stretch of Clapton Road formerly known as the ‘Murder Mile’.

About James Cook MBE: a resident of Clapton, James Cook MBE is a former European and British Super-Middleweight Champion. Born in Jamaica, Cook had a successful boxing career as a professional before turning his attention to youth work in the community. In 2003 Cook was alerted to the plight of the Pedro Club and set about forming a new management committee, managing to clear the club’s debts and reopen the doors to young people. In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for “his outstanding work with the young people of Hackney”.

About Holborn Studios: Holborn Studios is Europe's largest photographic studio complex. Established in 1979, after a couple of expansions and relocations the Studios are now based on Eagle Wharf Road N1. They were recently saved from demolition in a High Court planning battle. To view some of the iconic images shot at Holborn Studios – including Shirley Bassey, Peter Capaldi, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Victoria Pendleton – visit