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How boxing hero Phil Martin restored pride to the streets of riot-torn Moss Side

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manchestereveningnews.co.uk

As Moss Side burned during the riots of 1981 Phil Martin was already thinking about how he could restore some pride in the shattered community.

Amid the broken glass and rubble he built a boxing gym - Champs Camp - above a burnt out Co-op, painted a 20ft mural of Mohammed Ali on the side and waited for the fighters to come.

And come they did. Drawn by the retired fighter's charisma, presence and fearsome sense of discipline, young lads from the streets of Moss Side and South Manchester walked up the stairs in their droves. READ MORE: "They should build one on every estate": Inside the Manchester boxing gyms teaching kids 'how to deal with their s***' Success in the ring was in many ways secondary to shaping the lives of the fighters in his charge.

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