Club boxes clever with PM aide photo

Elena Narozanski, an adviser to the PM, resigned last week amid Partygate scandal

Friday, 11th February — By Anna Lamche

Elena Narozanski photo belongs to Islington Boxing Club

Elena Narozanski. Photo courtesy © Islington Boxing Club

A BOXING club found itself at the heart of a media storm following the resignations of one of prime minister Boris Johnson’s aides last week.

At around 8am on Friday, Reggie Hagland, manager of Islington Boxing Club, got a call from The Sun newspaper asking if they could reprint a photograph belonging to the club. The photo depicted Elena Narozanski, the fifth and final adviser to the PM to resign last week.

Ms Narozanski, who used to box for Islington Boxing Club around six years ago, went on to serve as a special advisor to the prime minister on women and equalities.

“The phone was ringing from 8 o’clock all day until 4pm,” Mr Hagland said. “Truth be told, it was good publicity for the club,” he added.

While aides Martin Reynolds, Dan Rosenfield and Jack Doyle left government by “mutual consent” following the bruising Partygate scandal, Ms Narozanski is understood to have followed her boss Munira Mirza out of the door.

Ms Mirza resigned on Thursday after Mr Johnson refused to apologise for his Jimmy Savile slur last week.

“They found [Elena’s] picture on Twitter funnily enough. The Sun called to ask: ‘can we use this image?’ Initially we said no, but then my dad spoke to Elena. She said: ‘They’re going to use an image of me one way or another, so they might as well use one that’s going to publicise the club.’ It’s got her blessing,” Mr Hagland said.

Ms Narozanski “used to box for our club for a couple of seasons at least. She did various tournaments at home and abroad. This was in the earlier days of female boxing: she ended up boxing for England. She was up there, she boxed at top level,” he said.

“She always had a good job – the difference between men and women is men have jobs and women have careers. She’s always been involved in politics – she worked initially in the mayor’s office, but I didn’t know which party she was attached to. Next thing I knew she was an aide for the Conservative Party,” he said.

Ms Narozanski is just one of the boxing club’s influential alumni – the London Fire Brigade’s Commissioner Andy Roe used to be a coach at the club.

“It’s another feather in our cap: they’ve had their time here, but it’s about more than what happens in the club, it’s about what happens outside the ring: it’s good to see people in professional establishments compete in amateur boxing,” said Mr Hagland.

“It’s a good thing for our club and boxing in general. Fingers crossed one day [Ms Narozanski] might make a return as a coach.”

Related Articles