A boxing gym focussed on giving youngsters a fighting chance at a successful future is proving how it’s changing the lives of children and teens outside the ring.
Coaches at Almonds Boxing Academy in Thorne are committed to getting youngsters off the streets and channelling their energy into a new discipline.
And staff at the professional boxing gym, that now has a children and amateur licence, say the skills youngsters are learning transcend the boxing ring.
Amateur coach Reece Stewart, aged, 30 said: “There’s not a lot for kids to do around here and a lot of them are walking round the streets.
“A lot of them have no respect for adults and think they can talk to people like a piece of muck.
“When they come here we make them more aware, speak to them about discipline and respect.
“Boxing is not like football where you train one day a week and have a game at the weekend, if these kids get into boxing it becomes a full time discipline, when they aren’t here training they are out jogging, skipping, watching what they eat, trying to lose a few pounds for a fight, it becomes a full time activity for them and changes there life.
“It’s rewarding to see the work we are putting in paying off and to see the effort the kids are putting in and how much they are enjoying it.”
Staff are now keen to build on the success and want to encourage more youngsters to come along by offering them a free taster session.
Reece said: “Come along and get your first session free and see if you enjoy it, even if you just want to come along and watch and get an idea of what we do.
“It’s amazing to see kids who start and are quiet and a bit shy and watch how their confidence grows.
“We are getting more girls coming along too. We want to do as much as we can to help children and teenagers in our area.
“We want more children to come along. It’s not just about punching a bag or fights we make it enjoyable and varied so they stick at it.
“We have around 50 members in total including children, teens and adults and only 15 spar and fight others come and train for fitness, to loose weight, to improve their confidence, it’s not just about fighting.
“We don’t put any pressure on anyone to fight it’s not just about that,”
As well as helping children try their hand at something new the gym also offers coaching for those wanting to box professionally.
Owner and head coach Niall Almonds has been coaching boxing for 20 years with career highlights including training Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell, training Matthew Warpath Wigglesworth to be a ABA champion and taking the England boxing team to Australia.
Reece who also works full time at his renewable energy business, started coaching after his own boxing hopes were dashed when a medical scan revealed he had a lump on the brain.
He said: “I’d been boxing on and off for a few years and then I went to train with Niall Almonds.
“I started having seizures and fits and put it down to stress from work but a brain scan showed I had a lump near my brain so obviously continuing boxing was not an option.
“It was difficult because I’d been working so hard, it was a massive step back for me, it’s always difficult when you get told can’t do something you’ve been working at.
“I’ve got a wife and four children, a business to run, a house it’s a brutal sport and I couldn’t risk it after seeing the scan.
“I didn’t want to throw away everything I’d trained so hard for so I wanted to stay at the gym and teach kids what I’d learned.”
n An opening day is taking place at the gym in unit 27a, Frontier works, King Edward Road, Thorne on March 17 11am to 4pm. Entry Fee is £3 and all funds will be used for new equipment with the ABA gym. All boxers must be the age of seven years plus.
To find out more come contact 07738 551646, search Almonds Boxing Academy on Facebook, @Almondsboxing on Twitter