Ian Garry Announced As An Official Ambassador for Gloves Not Gunz


Pictured: MMA and UFC star ‘The Future’ Ian Machado Garry


Undefeated Irish professional MMA and UFC star ‘The Future’ Ian Machado Garry has been announced as Gloves Not Gunz latest ambassador as the organisation strives to grow its sports programmes and youth services across the UK in 2023.

Over the past year, Ian has gone from strength to strength in his professional career and is currently on a three-fight win streak after joining the UFC in 2021 taking his record to 10-0. Ian’s values, passion, and determination along with his hard work, personality and confidence are what attracted Gloves Not Gunz to the star.

In November 2022, Ian held a training session at the Gloves Not Gunz boxing gym in Croydon, London where young people in the local community could try out the sport, develop their skills, and learn from MMA’s rising star.

Pictured: Ian Garry delivering a session at the Boxing HQ in December 2022.

Commenting on becoming an Ambassador for Gloves Not Gunz, Ian said: “Gloves Not Gunz is a phenomenal concept. After the training session and getting to meet everyone and seeing first-hand the impact programmes like Gloves Not Gunz can have on the community, it made my decision very easy when I was approached to become an ambassador.

“I know just how important it is to have role models to look up to and a safe place to go where you can train and meet others. Sport can have such a big impact on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being and I am honoured to become an ambassador of Gloves Not Gunz and look forward to working with them to inspire young people and grow the sport across the UK.”

Founders and Directors of Gloves Not Gunz, Adam Ballard and Ben Eckett added: “We are delighted to have Ian on board as one of our ambassadors. Not only does he bring knowledge and experience with his success to date, but he also brings passion, excitement, and integrity. Ian is someone the young people we work with can look up to and we are excited to work with him starting with our first masterclass taking place on Thursday 5th January 2023.”

Pictured: Ian Garry at the GNG Boxing HQ in December 2022.

Founded in 2017 by local dads Adam Ballard and Ben Eckett, Gloves Not Gunz uses a holistic approach to supporting young people and the community through sport, mentoring, education, employment, and therapeutic interventions. Supporting thousands of young people each year through its free service and programmes, Gloves Not Gunz aims to break down barriers and tackle key issues within the community whilst creating change and inspiring the youth of today.

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2022 Reflections With Adam Ballard and Ben Eckett

As 2022 draws to a close, we sat down with Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK founders and directors, Adam Ballard and Ben Eckett to talk reflections and lessons, and what we can expect in 2023.



Talk us through how this year has been for Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK?

Ben: This year has been a year of positivity and growth for us. We’ve seen some of our contracts extended with councils and local authorities and we’ve received new funding which has been great after having a difficult year in 2021. In 2022 we have expanded our services in schools, implemented and developed new systems, and built structure and consistency within the team and organisation.

Adam: 2022 has been the year I was able to take my role full-time, which has been a huge relief. Taking the leap has been the best thing as before I was struggling to juggle everything. Now, I’ve got more time to develop and grow the organisation. There are moments in life when you’ve got to just throw caution to the wind and thankfully this has worked out.


Training session with MMA and UFC star, Ian Garry at the Gloves Not Gunz Boxing HQ

How have the Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK teams developed over the past 12-months?

Ben: This year we decided to get Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s together which we’ve never done before so it’s been really nice to see how both organisations can help each other. We’ve also hired new people who have proven to be great additions to the teams.

Adam: We’ve continued to employ young people which is personally one of my favourite things we get to do, as we can offer them an opportunity they may not get elsewhere.


A taster boxing session at our Community Day in August | image by Bevin Sutherland

What have been some of the challenges that you’ve faced this year?

Adam: One of the challenges we’ve faced has been engaging with other community groups in Croydon and some of the politics in the work we do.

Ben: The challenges and politics can make you feel frustrated and angry, but you have to realise that it’s not worth it and we just need to focus on what we’re doing.


Where would you like Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK to be this time next year?

Ben: In 2023 we’re really focusing on expansion – expanding both the team and our services and programmes. We’ve got some really exciting things in the pipeline that we can’t wait to roll out and we’re looking forward to continuing to change young people’s lives.

Adam: Yes, we definitely want to expand across the country too, with the plan to perhaps go international as well. We’ve got big plans for the next year, which is exciting.


Training session with MMA and UFC star, Ian Garry at the Gloves Not Gunz Boxing HQ

What three words sum up 2022 for you?

Both: Progressive, Innovative and Reflective


GNG and UYUK Community Day in August | image by Bevin Sutherland



2022 has been another successful and transformative year for Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK. We’d like to thank everyone who has used our services, attended our programmes, supported us, and worked with us to inspire and create positive change. We look forward to 2023 and another year of success with our team, young people, partners, sponsors, and ambassadors.  

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK!


To find out more about Gloves Not Gunz visit the website here and keep up to date on Twitter and Instagram.

To find out more about Urban Yogi’s UK visit the website here and keep posted for updates on Twitter and Instagram.

Roles ‘n’ Role Models: Q&A with Romario Simpson

Physical fitness, movement and breath have always been important to Romario Simpson, one of our youth mentors at Gloves Not Gunz (GNG) and a yoga teacher with Urban Yogis UK (UYUK). From competing in a national gym competition as a teenager, to graduating as a professional actor from The Academy Of Live & Recorded Arts in his twenties, Romario’s humble enthusiasm and self-motivation makes him a true role model. Romario’s big smile matches his compassionate, fun-lovin’ spirit…. And for anyone who’s met him, you’ll agree his warmth and positive energy is authentic as it is infectious.

As Croydon community gathered at the Boxing Club to celebrate Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogis UK turning five in August ’22, we sat with Romario to chat about his role, the importance of breath, and how yoga can help young people in the UK.

That Smile… Romario in Tree Pose at our Community Day in August | image by Bevin Sutherland

Tell us about yourself and your role at GNG and UYUK?
Hello, my name is Romario and I am a youth mentor with Gloves Not Gunz and a yoga teacher with Urban Yogis UK.

Community Day UYUK

Celebrating UYUK and GNG Community Day 2022, image by Bevin Sutherland

How did you get involved with GNG and UYUK?
It began during the first lockdown. I used to do a security job, and then lockdown happened and everything shut down. I thought: ‘What more can I give?’, and I’ve always been interested in youth work because I grew up in a community that was under privileged and I had a lot of negative influences and no role models. So I thought I’d like to be a role model to these youths growing up, and got involved with Gloves Not Gunz.

GNG saw the passion in me, and they trained me up with health and safety and then trained me to be a yoga teacher. I completed my qualification in October 2021, so it’s almost been a year since I’ve been teaching.

Community Day Romario Simpson

An inspiring role model: Romario leads a Yoga Session during Community Day 2022 | image by Bevin Sutherland

What are the challenges that exist for young people in UK, and how can a discipline like a martial arts or yoga help?
I think a lot of the challenges for young people in the UK is the influence of social media, and how much it can change a young person’s perception—how much it can influence their everyday decision making.

A practice like yoga can help just calm the mind and bring people back to self, because it is hard to take time for self.

When young people take that five or ten minutes just to breathe, that can help their psyche in not letting all these influences corrupt them.

0Romario Demonstrates Seated Twist in a Group Yoga Sesh at Community Day 2022 | image by Bevin Sutherland

Who is your role model?
My role model is the incredible actor Denzel Washington. He has nothing but positive things to say to the world and he uses his influence to do so. Big up Denzel!

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Follow Gloves Not Gunz on Instagram, here.

Romario Simpson

Side by Side: Coming Together at Community Day 2022 | image by Bevin Sutherland

Images by Bevin Sutherland

Gloves Not Gunz Hosts Free Community Day To Celebrate 5-Year Success

Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s UK will celebrate their success over the past five years at a community day in Croydon on Friday 19th August 2022.

The Community Day which will be held from 3pm Friday 19th August 2022 at Norbury Pavilion, Croydon, will see staff, volunteers, ambassadors, stakeholders, and the local community come together to celebrate five years of creating positive futures, inspiring change, and preventing crime through boxing and yoga. The event is free to attend and will include boxing, yoga, jiu jitsu, football sessions, workshops, activities, a BBQ, and refreshments.

Gloves Not Gunz, which was set up by Directors and local dads, Adam Ballard, and Ben Eckett, has had a profound impact on young people and communities over the past five years. It has worked with over 3,000 young people across the Borough of London, delivering over 350 of its programmes. These range from mentoring, community sports sessions, school workshops, community outreach and community interventions which include setting up sport/education sessions in crime hotspots. The organisation has also developed a stellar reputation, receiving a Metropolitan Police Service Commendation and an invitation to consult parliament in the All-Parliamentary Group as a result of its positive work within the community.

Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s Director, Adam Ballard commented: “It has been incredible to see the success of both organisations over the past five years. We wanted to celebrate this milestone by giving back to the community, our staff, volunteers and partners and stakeholders. Gloves Not Gunz and Urban Yogi’s hopes to see as many people as possible attend the event which is completely free and get involved with the sessions and activities taking place. In addition, we hope the day will further raise awareness of the work we do and inspire more young people to get involved with our programmes and use the power of sport to positively impact their lives.”

The event will be held at: Norbury Pavilion, Croydon, SW16 3LX from 3pm – 7pm on Friday 19th August. All are welcome.

To find out more about Urban Yogi’s, click here.

Gloves Not Gunz Community Day