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Former professional boxer and well-known boxing pundit Johnny Nelson MBE is putting his weight behind a Leamington distillery brand which is inspired by boxing.

Johnny announced his collaboration with Warwickshire Gin Company during a recent visit to the county where he met local amateur boxers at Cleary’s Boxing Gym.

Nelson, now a boxing pundit & motivational speaker, remains the longest reigning cruiserweight world champion of all time. Since his retirement, he has spent time working with charities, including the prison service where he helps inmates with life management skills. Last year he was appointed an MBE in King Charles’ first New Year’s Honours for services to boxing and young people in his local area of South Yorkshire.

He is partnering with Warwickshire Gin Company’s award-winning Pugilist rum range, which has been named in honour of Leamington’s own boxing great, Randolph Turpin. Turpin, who is recognised with a statue in Warwick’s Market Square, went down in British boxing history for his sensational World Title win against the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson and earning himself the nickname ‘The Leamington Licker.’

Johnny Nelson MBE said of the new partnership: “I love boxing, and I love rum, so Pugilist Blended Rum and its history with Randolph Turpin is the perfect collaboration for me. Rum has been my tipple of choice since I retired.  I didn’t drink as a professional, and if I’m honest didn’t really like the taste of alcohol, but you’ll often find me drinking it neat, or enjoying it at home mixed with ginger ale.

“The quality of Pugilist Blended Rum speaks for itself and hopefully through this new partnership, more people will get to know about it and hear the story behind the brand. The connection to Randolph Turpin couldn’t be more of an honour.

“Hopefully I can help The Pugilist bring to life the connection to boxing through appearances at gyms in the Warwickshire community, through to promotional campaigns. I’m proud to be an ambassador for the brand.”

The prestigious promoter joins ringside as the distillery and the three rums - Spice Blended Rum; The Pugilist - Sting Like a Bee - Honey Rum and Pugilist Ghost Edition White Rum, are already punching above their weight in the awards arena - the signature Spice Blended Rum taking Bronze at from the 2022 International Spirits Awards.

Warwickshire Gin Company is, this year, also celebrating becoming the ‘Number One Thing to Do in Leamington Spa’ on Trip Advisor.

The distillery’s tasting experiences have shot to the envied top spot thanks to over 100 five-star reviews from visitors. Internationally it’s also made its mark, achieving the “Travellers Choice Award” which puts the Warwickshire distillery in the top 10% of businesses listed in the world based on reviews.

Dave Blick, who established Warwickshire Gin Company at Victoria Business Centre, in 2018, adds: “It’s great to have such a prestigious member of the boxing community as an ambassador for Warwickshire Gin Company, endorsing our rum products. It will also help us in our plans to grow the brand in getting it into sporting and boxing venues and to carry on sharing the wider story of Warwickshire’s Randolph Turpin, extending his legacy beyond the county borders.”

The partnership followed the distillery’s sponsorship of Cleary’s Boxing Gym, which opened the doors to its new £100k premises in Whitnash last year.

Edwin Cleary now welcomes up to 400 members into his gym, from as young as six, some of whom were excited to meet Johnny Nelson MBE during his recent drop-in.

Edwin finishes: “Johnny opened Cleary’s amateur club with Jack Turpin, and I’ve since introduced him to a lot of my boxers. He’s an inspiration to any striving young boxer who comes through the gym. He teaches them the philosophy he himself lived by - if you don’t succeed try and try again.”

For more information, visit: warwickshiregincompany.co.uk