Boxing brothers fight to keep pub

First published in News

Champion boxers the McKenzie brothers will need all their fighting powers to battle a police move to strip them of a drinking licence for their Thornton Heath pub.

Despite last week winning an extension to drinking hours at The McKenzie Bar in Parchmore Road, the trio may still have to close the pub in September after being caught several times by police serving alcohol after hours.

Croydon Council's licensing committee, attended by Winston and Clinton McKenzie, granted a temporary music and dancing licence until next January.

The McKenzies, who run several gyms and their own security firm, took over the pub in February.

The premises, previously called the Prince of Wales pub, was described as a “battleground” rife with gangsters and drug-pushers until the brothers took over.

The McKenzies told the Guardian: “We need to continue our progress in the community. It's what we've been working for and we've fought to try and achieve that.”

Former Mayoress of Croydon, Marianne Bowness, helped fight their corner at the meeting, in which she credited the brothers with turning the neighbourhood around and reviving a community spirit.

In 1995, the McKenzie family were honoured by the council for their achievements in boxing.

When asked why they had appointed a bar manager with only one year's experience, they said she was the only interviewee willing to get involved with the pub due to its notorious reputation.

Police said that crime was not a problem in the area, but refused to confirm whether the brothers were responsible for a clean-up.

Winston McKenzie said: “If our drinks license is revoked, we'll take this all the way to the House of Commons. We're not losers.”

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