Boxing brothers fighting fit as new gym opens

Andreas and Chris Evangelou outside The Fit Factory in Cockfosters
Andreas and Chris Evangelou outside The Fit Factory in Cockfosters

The Evangelou brothers are celebrating opening their own gym, reports James Cracknell

Two former boxing champions are opening a gym in Cockfosters after overcoming the economic challenges presented by the pandemic.

Chris and Andreas Evangelou – who both became International Masters champions at the height of their professional boxing careers in 2014 – were forced to delay the full opening of The Fit Factory in Station Parade by several months, after the second wave of the pandemic hit last winter.

While they have been able to trade as a coffee shop in the interim, the pair are now ready to celebrate the official launch of their gym after the government confirmed it would lift restrictions and allow leisure venues to open from Monday.

The Fit Factory, which occupies a former dry cleaners unit, has been fitted out with six punching bags, weights and other exercise equipment, while the front area serves coffee, smoothies and snacks. It will only be permitted to allow individual adults to train initially, until 17th May, but children will be allowed to take part in a range of group classes from next week.

Chris, who also works as an actor and recently starred in Guy Ritchie gang movie The Gentlemen, told the Dispatch: “We have spent six or seven years trying to find a place like this. We wanted somewhere local to us because we are both from Enfield and we have a big following in the area, especially in the Greek community.

“We wanted to give something back to the boxing world. We have a wealth of knowledge and we want to train young people.”

While The Fit Factory is not being run as a boxing club, Chris and Andreas want to use the gym to introduce young people to the sport, with few nearby facilities available for training. The brothers’ father, Costakis Evangelou, also happens to run Edmonton Eagles Amateur Boxing Club, should any young boxers wish to compete locally.

“Even after boxing around the world and acting in films, this is the biggest venture of my life,” Chris said.

“We’ve put our life savings into this, we didn’t have any loans. We are boxers at heart and we will always fight to succeed in life – it’s rare at the moment to see a business opening rather than closing.”

A year ago Chris found himself out of work, when his acting career was put on hold because of the pandemic, while he also had to pause his personal training business. But the spare time helped him and Andreas put together their business plan for the new gym.

Andreas said: “I have worked in a lot of youth clubs but many of them have closed in recent years – what after-school activities are there for kids now? There is not a lot going on in Cockfosters and Oakwood.

“We want kids to be doing something healthy and productive. During lockdown they’ve been stuck at home but now we’ve got this space here for them to support their physical development, as well as their emotional wellbeing, and help with anger management issues and conflict resolution.”

For more information about The Fit Factory:
Visit thefitfactory.co.uk