This weeks #WCW goes to Natalie Gyte, founder of Punch Club, a recently opened pay as you go boxing studio.
At the age of 20, Natalie Gyte, moved to London from her home town of Doncaster. With little money, no job prospects and knowing no one, Gyte, camped out in her car for about a week in Acton. She worked about eight jobs, before she landed a job within marketing agency, Greenlight Search, staying there for four years, learning everything she could.
She then went on to pursue a master’s degree in Politics from London School of Economics, before heading to Rwanda to work for the Government for six months and then coming back to London to work for a women’s right’s organisation as Head of Communications for four years.
With a strong background in sports (including playing basketball for Team GB in the junior Olympics age 16), Gyte turned her interests to boxing. In 2015, a friend invited her down to Broad Street Boxing Club, where she has been training as an amateur boxer ever since. Unlike the other sports she has taken part in, she finds boxing to be very regimented and likes that element of it. Her first fight came after only six months of training, where she got a standing count in the first, but went on to triumph in the third. Being the only female in her club, her club mates, who are all guys, were nervous to spar her, so she hadn’t had much experience in the ring. Two years on, she’s the club captain.
In 2017, Gyte added a new venture to her growing CV, when she opened up Punch Club in Blackheath. Using qualified instructors and boxing coaches from Broad Street, as well as teaching some classes herself, her aim is to deliver classes that are very close to real boxing training. Classes involve equal parts warm up, shadow boxing, pad work, conditioning, and cool down.
Speaking about the club, Natalie said,
Although the company is young, and small in scale, I really hope to grow it so that we have more classes. However, I always want to retain the localised feel – where we welcome every single person equally and encourage them to do their very best no matter their fitness or skill level.
With 18,000 children living in poverty in Greenwich, and 29% of children aged 5 in Greenwich suffering from obesity, Gyte, has set up a charity, called the Punch Club Foundation, which will provide free classes to children in the area during the summer holidays. The focus will be on children living in low income families. She has already secured £2,000 in funding for the Punch Club Foundation. Her hopes are for it to grow from there.
Her advice to everyone is,
Every experience is valuable. Sometimes you aren’t where you want to be in you career, or in life, and iIt can feel s**t at the time, but learn as much as you can – every experience is valuable and you will be able to apply it later…knowing your potential and working towards it.
What’s does the future hold for Natalie?
She now works for a FTSE100 company, managing a portfolio of around £4 million, whilst running Punch Club, and Punch Club Foundation.
Failing to win the national title in May, she is set on gaining the title in 2018. Her next fight is on 12th October, at Troxy.