Hundreds of young people from South London got in the ring with Olympic boxing silver medallist, Joe Joyce, at the Clapham Fest community sport and fun day last weekend.
The free event, which was hosted by housing association, Metropolitan, at Agnes Riley Gardens in Clapham, attracted people from across South London who came along to get some boxing tips from the Team GB boxer and have their photograph taken with the silver medal he won in Rio.
Joyce, who was born and raised in South London and lives in the borough of Wandsworth, said: “It’s great to have the chance to give back to the community and help to inspire the younger people coming through.
“Events such as Clapham Fest are a great opportunity for people to get involved in boxing. It gives them a taste and they can then go and join a boxing gym, possibly even start competing, and maybe even end up on Team GB. The level of boxing that I saw was good. I was giving people a few pointers and taking them on the pads and the people – young and old - seemed to enjoy it.
“I had a lot of photographs with my medal and it’s great to be able to give people the chance to see one and to hold it. I didn’t get to see an Olympic medal until I won one, so although I keep it close to my heart I don’t mind showing it around.”
The activities available on the day featured a mobile boxing ring which was brought along by the award winning community sport project, British Lionhearts in the Community.
The ring was staffed by qualified England Boxing coaches and gave attendees the opportunity to learn some basic boxing technique and have a go at skills such as hitting a punchbag or padwork with Joe Joyce or one of the coaches.
The day was also memorable for south Londoner Charlie Sturrock, 11, who was presented with a trophy by Joyce for showcasing some fine boxing skills.
Charlie said: “It was really fun to box with Joe Joyce, because it’s not every day that you get to box with an Olympic boxing silver medallist. He gave me some tips, he taught me to keep my hands up when I’m boxing and keep them close to my face.
“I am going to take home my trophy that Joe gave to me – this is what I’m going to remember the day by.”
Clapham Fest was hosted by Metropolitan, who showcased a range of other free services for residents as part of the day including support around employment, personal finances, and health and wellbeing.
After close to two years of inactivity due to career-threatening injuries, North East boxing sensation Bradley Saunders (12-1) is finally fed up with the normal life and heads back to the ring on June 23rd in Newcastle.
The latest JDNXTGEN show will play host to the dramatic comeback and will be televised live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports Facebook from the Walker Activity Dome on Friday June 23rd.
In what will be 21-months since Sedgefield’s Saunders’ shock defeat to Frenchman Renald Garrido (14-11-1), the Beijing 2008 Olympian is finally back in business in a bid to rebuild his once promising career.
Previously touted as a potential future World champion, the 31-year-old was forced to consider retirement from the sport he has dedicated his entire life to after badly damaging both hands in his last bout in September 2015, which ended disastrously with his first loss in the professional ranks via disqualification.
He said, “I just thought, I’ve had enough now, my body can only take so much. I’ve had the bone taken from hips and put into my hands, so got hip bone in both hands now.”
The injury-plagued County Durham puncher was taken straight to hospital for emergency surgery when he ruptured ligaments in both fists in the scheduled eight-round bout with ‘Le Lion’ from Marseille in September 2015 at the Liverpool Olympia.
After recovering from surgery, Saunders established a family-run business in road maintenance and lived a normal life away from boxing.
“I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t enjoyed being off and going out with my friends and eating normal,” admitted the former Olympian. “Going out with my missus and having food with a glass of wine – brilliant! I’ve enjoyed every minute of being a normal person, I’ve not been normal since I was eight-years-old.
“But now I’m sick of being normal!” He confessed.
Saunders holds the record for being the longest-serving boxer on Team GB and boasts one of the most highly-decorated amateur careers of this millennium, winning a Silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Gold at the 2009 EU Championships and Bronze at the 2007 World Championships.
The former WBO Inter-Continental champion has been training in Essex with Peter Sims and sparring with ex-England titlist Tyler Goodjohn.
When back home in County Durham, he has his family gym to train in with younger brother Jeff, also a pro, currently unbeaten in 10 bouts.
“Kid’s had 10 fights, won 10, and knocked seven out!” Brad exclaimed. “We’re the same weight and we bring each other on. When we spar, we don’t half go at it and we’re not like brothers in there!”
The injurious boxer disclosed the doubts in his mind as to how his tools will hold up on fight night, openly admitting, “I will think about my hands a little bit more than I normally do but I can’t wait! That feeling that you get when you walk into the ring, and the support I get is second to none.
“I’m not doing it for money, I don’t want to get older and think that I could have fought, so why not?”
After his June 23rd comeback fight, Saunders has his wedding to look forward to later in the year when he marries his childhood sweetheart, Stephanie Elliot.
He joked, “I’m more worried about the wedding than I am the next fight!”
Olympian Josh Kelly (2-0) tops the bill against Northern Area title contender Tom Whitfield (4-1), live on Sky Sports and on Sky Sports Facebook.
Sunderland’s Kelly has impressed in his opening bouts in the paid ranks, landing his first stoppage win in Birmingham with a clinical display against Jony Vina to add to his debut win over Jay Byrne.
Adam Booth’s 23-year-old charge represented Team GB in Rio at welterweight and will face Birtley’s Whitfield, 30-years-old, who unsuccessfully challenged for the Northern Area strap in his last outing in October.
‘Pretty Boy’ has expressed his desire to advance quickly as a pro and is looking for another standout performance to elevate his rising profile and to also propel the growing North East boxing scene into the spotlight.
Former IBF World bantamweight champion Stuart Hall (20-5-2) returns for the first time since his defeat to Lee Haskins (33-4) as he looks to build towards another World title shot.
Cruiserweight pair Simon Vallily (10-1) and Warren Baister (5-0) are both back in respective bouts while Preston’s super-welterweight Scott Fitzgerald (6-0) and Sunderland’s super-middleweight Jordan King (8-0) are also in action.
Emmanuel Coker, Employment Coordinator at Metropolitan, explained: “We knew that someone like Joe Joyce would attract our residents and show them that if they put their mind to something, they can do anything.
“We had a steady flow of community members coming through – with a huge diversity of people from all backgrounds - so the event worked really well.”
BCB Promotions are delighted to announce the signing of Andrew D'Animal' Robinson on a managerial contract.
A former Midlands Area Champion, D'Animal is a real fans favourite and is known for his all action, whole hearted style.
At 32, the Redditch pugilist still has much to offer and BCB's Head of Boxing, Errol Johnson, revealed his delight at adding Robinson to his ever-growing stable of fighters.
"What you see is what you get with Andrew," he told bcb-promotions.com. "He's hard working, dedicated and loves a tear up. He has quality too and can give any middleweight a tough, tough night."
Equally Robinson is looking forward to the next chapter in his career.
"I'm excited," he added. "I've still got plenty to give and I'm looking forward to this next chapter."
Robinson has been added to BCB's 'Second City Slickers' show at the Holiday Inn Birmingham on Saturday, 22nd July.
"It's good to have a date to work towards and it will be nice to go into a new season with BCB on the back of a win. I'd like to thank my sponsors Carl Dooley Roofing, D'Animal Wear, Ringside and Des Witter Fitness for all their help as always. Let's eat."
Joining Robinson on Second City Slickers are former WBC Intern Silver & English Super Bantamweight Champion Sean Davis and undefeated super welterweight, Jordan Clayton, alongside a trio of debutants. Super welterweight Ashley Silver, cruiserweight Matt Sen, and heavyweight Nathan Stevens complete the dinner show.