PART of a former pub in Prestonpans opened its doors at the weekend. . . as a boxing gym.

The former Johnnie Cope pub, on Hawthorn Road, has undergone an extensive refurbishment and the ground floor has now opened as a gym, run by Jay Tuveri and his partner Laura Casement.

It will be known as J&L Boxing Club.

Laura is a former boxer who was coached by Terry McCormack, a former coach of Prestonpans professional boxing champion Josh Taylor, while Jay has experience as a gymnast and in martial arts.

Mr Tuveri, originally from Genoa, Italy, told the Courier why the pair decided to open the gym in the former pub, which also houses a cafe and bistro on its upper floors.

The 36-year-old said: “We have three girls and we started to teach them some boxing, which helped them to get more confident and stand up for themselves.

“Seeing their confidence thrive, we decided that we could possibly help other kids with lack of confidence and so we went though coaching with Boxing Scotland, we qualified, and decided to open a fitness centre to help the community.

“The club has classes every day for kids so we can help them to stay off the street and out of trouble while learning self-confidence, all while they stay fit!

“We love helping people and what we do inspires people and helps them to feel better about themselves – now we have the facility to do it.”

Taylor, the current Commonwealth super lightweight and WBC Silver super lightweight champion, had been due to open the gym on Sunday but was unable to attend as he is in training for a fight in Edinburgh next month.

The 26-year-old, who trained with McCormack at Lochend Boxing Club as an amateur, told the Courier: “It is great to see them opening.

“It will be a good facility for the community and hopefully it will give kids something to do to keep them off the streets at night.”

“It might even lead to a Josh Taylor of the future.”

For more on the new gym, visit its Facebook page,