A series of portraits photographed at Palmer’s Boxing Academy, a non-profit boxing gym located in a trading estate warehouse complex based in the South-East London Borough of Lewisham, Bellingham. The aim of the project was to capture a gentler side to a contact sport often interpreted as violent or brutal. Each one of the academy’s students carries a unique story with a specific personal motivation for being there. Some of them hope to develop confidence and courage while others seek recognition and glory. Between them they share a respect for the fight to overcome one’s fears and face the hardships of life with unflinching endurance and integrity, and together they train to cultivate the strength to do this. When facing each other in the ring they recognise that there are no good guys or bad guys; you are your own opponent, life itself.

Text by Peter Eramian, founding editor of Shoppinghour Magazine