Former boxing world champion Takanori Hatakeyama will open a boxing gym in Tokyo in collaboration with another ex-champion Shinji Takehara, boxing sources said Thursday.

The gym, which will officially open to the public on July 1 in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, will not be used as a training facility for professional fighters but as a center for amateur boxers — male and female.

“I wanted this place to be somewhere people can enjoy boxing in a relaxed atmosphere. The image should not be dark or scary,” said Hatakeyama, who won World Boxing Association (WBA) crowns as a superfeatherweight and lightweight.

Hatakeyama and Takehara, a former WBA middleweight champion, will be directly involved in the training of the gym members along with current Japanese lightweight champion Takehiro Shimada, who will also be on staff at the gym.

“I think if women try boxing, they’ll also get hooked. They can use Shimada as a punching bag,” said Takehara.

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