The Apprentice Winner: Meet Marnie Swindells From Bronx.

Apprentice winner Marnie Swindells is a boxing champion + court advocate from Oldham, who runs the boxing gym business Bronx (which Lord Sugar has invested in).

Boxing is on its way to the masses.

In her early years, 28 year-old Marnie Swindells grew up in a static caravan. As soon as she turned 18, she moved to London – to study History and Politics at University.

However, it was boxing that changed Marnie’s life the most: “I started boxing just prior to the 2012 Olympics. When I started out, there were no women in boxing. There were six women in the whole of the UK on the database, so finding fights was really, really difficult,” said Marnie.

But, she didn’t let this stop her. “I had an assessment to become a part of the Team GB squad. I won two gold medals at Europe’s largest amateur boxing event, Haringey, and I came back and won again the following year – just to prove that it wasn’t a fluke,” said Marnie.

And just like that, Marnie’s lifelong dedication to boxing and helping others was born. 

Boxing became Marnie’s solace. And as her love for boxing grew, she started to realise that she wanted to use it as a vehicle to have a positive impact on local communities.

“Boxing clubs are these special little hubs – where people from all corners of the world come together. I don’t know any other place like them, and that is why I am such an advocate. I want there to be more of them, because people like you and me, who may have dismissed sports and fitness – will find a home for ourselves in the boxing gym,” said Marnie.

But it was an unlikely event that pushed Marnie in an entirely new direction for a while: law.

“I was in the gym one night, and I was talking to this lady. I was telling her that I didn’t know what to do with my life. I felt a bit lost. She said ‘I’m a criminal defence barrister. Why don’t you come and shadow me?’ So I did,” said Marnie.

“I fell in love with it. I thought ‘I could do this. This is what I want.’ So I went back to school, and I did a GDL – a graduate diploma in law. After that, I did my bar course, the BPTC. Then, I did some paralegal work, and I got a job as a court advocate. I was in court three or four times a week. I absolutely loved it,” said Marnie.

However, Marnie chose to leave her law career behind, and go back to what she loved most. She opened a brand new boxing gym business called Bronx, instead – a decision she didn’t take likely. And it all started with some Government grant applications, and a dilapidated building.

She saw the building’s potential as a boxing gym that could sustain itself financially, and gave back to the community, so she pitched her idea to the Government – who provided her with the necessary funding to make her vision a reality. 

And despite the building’s condition – which was flooded with sewage and asbestos – Marnie persevered. She overcame hurdles, and she opened the doors of Bronx’s first boxing gym in Camberwell, London, on February 23th, 2023 – just prior to winning the Apprentice

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The timing it seems – was uncanny, as one of Lord Sugar’s reservations in the final, was whether Marnie would ‘close’ the Government funding gap, or not. Well. She did.

On winning the Apprentice and Lord Sugar’s investment, Marnie said: ‘It still doesn’t feel real. It feels like I’m living somebody else’s life right now. There was definitely no presumption that I was going to win. But one of the reasons he did choose me in the end, was because boxing is an industry that he’s not yet tackled. And the boxing community are so excited to now have such a business icon in their industry.”

So what will Marnie be doing with Lord Sugar’s investment, then?

“The mission – is to get more people into boxing, and to open it up to a mass market. In order to do so, we’ll have to open new, physical locations for them to come in,” explained Marnie.

Already, Bronx has partnered with St. Joseph’s Trust, a local organisation – that works with young people who have been excluded from school/referred by youth offender units. BUT, Marnie is encouraging anyone and everyone, regardless of their fitness level, background, or experience – to give boxing a try.

As such, Bronx provides a wide array of classes, including group sessions – that focus on boxing and fitness, women-only classes, and sparring. Also, during the daytime, the gym runs open training sessions, where people can come along and hit the bags.

Marnie has also expressed a desire to support early-career, professional boxers.

Her mission is simple: she wants to grow WITH these early-career, professional boxers, and support them into the professional ranks. And, she envisions promoting and hosting boxing events, too – to provide a clear path for the fighters training at Bronx, to reach new heights in their careers.

And with her dedication to helping others, her determination to succeed, and Lord Sugar’s investment, expertise, and contacts, there is no doubt – that Marnie Swindells and Bronx will succeed, grow, and change lives for the better.

Boxing is on its way to the masses.

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