Tom Bell '“ the young boxer whose shooting robbed Doncaster of one of its brightest prospects

The Doncaster boxing community has lost one of its most promising young fighters with the untimely death of Tom Bell.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 10:54 am
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 10:59 am
Boxer Tom Bell at the Freedom Project ABC, Hatfield. Picture: Chris Etchells
Boxer Tom Bell at the Freedom Project ABC, Hatfield. Picture: Chris Etchells

The 21-year-old was shot dead in a quiet, family pub on the leafy Woodfield Plantation estate on Thursday evening.

The brutality of the sport of boxing knows no such levels as the manner in which Bell was taken from this world.

Only at the start of his adult life, his boxing career was in its embryonic stages.

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Turning professional as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, he bid goodbye to what had been a successful amateur career as a junior with the highly-regarded Doncaster Plantworks ABC.

He began working with Jimmy Harrington at the Freedom Boxing Club in Lindholme, an unassuming building that has seen plenty of champions pass through its doors over the last few years.

Just a few months ago, Harrington told me Bell was the most naturally talented boxer he had ever trained.

For a man who has worked closely with two time world champion Jamie McDonnell, reigning IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington, two time world title challenger Gavin McDonnell and former Commonwealth champion Issac Lowe, among others, that is quite the statement.

Harrington was keen to talk up Bell's prospects to all in the sport who would listen. And people did listen.

It says plenty that Bell was selected as the chief sparring partner for Sheffield-trained Charlie Edwards ahead of his brilliantly successful shot at the WBC flyweight title last month.

This came for Bell after a stint in prison. He was looking to rebuild his life and his boxing career.

Before his run of fights was paused in September 2017, he had won all six of his professional fights. It was not about concussive power, but rather smart, slick skill - the sort of attributes that quickly earn respect.

It had seen him get the better of Razaq Najib in only his third fight ending the Sheffield boxer's five fight unbeaten start to his career, and doing so out of the away corner. Two fights later Najib would contest the English featherweight title.

The respect shown from Edwards and his team before Christmas was a considerable boost and Bell was excited about what may lay ahead in his career.

He would likely have been back in the ring as early as March, beginning a concerted effort to rise through the domestic ranks.

Due to tragic, unthinkable circumstances, we will never know how far Bell's talents could have taken him.

His boxing family are devastated.