Hitchin gym owner disgusted as former world champion boxer jailed for drug dealing betrayed him

Wayne Armstrong

Wayne Armstrong - Credit: Archant

The owner of a boxing gym which had its name tarnished by a drugs ring involving a former world champion fighter says he feels ‘betrayed’ by the conspiracy.

Former world champion Graham Earl was jailed for seven years.

Former world champion Graham Earl was jailed for seven years. - Credit: Archant

Top boxer Graham Earl’s House for Champions stable was based at the Wayne Armstrong Boxing Gym in Hitchin’s Station Approach, but the former world champ was also involved in a drugs ring which has seen him jailed for seven years.

The 36-year-old – who fought two-time world boxing champion Amir Khan in 2007 having won the WBU lightweight title the year before – was put behind bars for conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Wayne told the Comet: “I’ve been boxing since the age of 11. I love boxing and feel betrayed that these things were going on in my gym completely without my knowledge.

“After the verdicts were announced I was so mad at Graham, he told me he was so anti-drugs.

“I was actually going to be a character witness for him because he was so adamant he was against drugs. I feel badly betrayed and lied to by him.

“I’ve never had any association with drugs and knew absolutely nothing about what happened.

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“I was so shocked and quite disgusted when I found out.

“I’ve known Graham since he used to box. I am also a boxing referee and have known his parents since 1990.

“Graham has let not only them down, and me down but the wider boxing community.

“Boxing is so important in teaching discipline and in channelling aggression – and a few bad apples are spoiling it for 99.9 per cent of people who are passionate advocates of the good the sport can do.

“I am heavily involved in the charity Box Cleva. I run boxing courses at North Herts College on Cambridge Road, and I take 15 youngsters a week who have ADHD and Asperberger’s, helping them to channel their aggression into something positive.

“The feedback we’ve had from the lads and their parents has been incredibly positive.

“My reputation is so important to me – I feel disappointed and let down.

“I am extremely anti-drugs. Anyone who knows me would testify to that.

“I educate all the boys under me about the dangers of drugs and to steer well clear of them.”

The drugs ring was led by Christopher ‘Mouse’ Collins from Hitchin, who admitted at a hearing last year to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis, as well as a proceeds of crime act offence which saw the 29-year-old of Coopers Yard in Paynes Park jailed for 12 years.

For more information on the boxing courses Wayne runs visit www.waynearmstrongbootcamp.co.uk

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