Boxing News

A YEAR IN REVIEW FROM THE PEOPLE’S GYM

By Dennis Dodge – In lieu of the hundreds of pieces that will be written about the more glamorous side of boxing, I decided to give a little insight into the ups and downs of a gym, with a small group of coaches that runs amateur and professional boxing.

From the professional side of things, Big Bossman Kieran Farrell, was about to step it up and start managing and promoting boxers in Britain and Ireland, there were discussions to be had and matchmaking to be done whilst also keeping a keen eye on the amateurs and taking myself along a bit at a time, not allowing me to be overwhelmed (something I am extremely grateful for.)

Kieran and Danny with title
Danny Craven capture the  International Title – Photo by Karen Priestly

With shows nearly every month, and a stable of extremely talented boxers, the professional side was on the up with wins coming across the board and tables being climbed by all and sundry, the highlight for me was without a doubt FA Cup Final day where Danny Craven took on the extremely dangerous Nathan McIntosh to win the International title and highlight of the decade for my lad as his hero Darryl Sharpe won the Central Area title.

Under the tutelage of little bossman Nay Farrell, Lee Clayton looked like adding to the tally as he was scheduled to fight for an International title in Blackpool, alas this had to be postponed as his opponent suffered an injury, not to be stopped this is now scheduled for 16th Feb at the Village Hotel in Bury, a worthy reward for an extremely dedicated fella.

The rest of the lads saw television debuts appear, more shows put on by the man himself and a number of wins against live opponents, some losses were to be had but as I’ve said for a long time if your willing to match yourself in proper fights this will happen sometimes, hard work pays off though as George Brennan has the opportunity to also add a title around his waist as manager Kieran continues to push.

The only real bad part of the year was Darryl Sharpe losing his title away in controversial circumstances as Judge John Latham scored the bout to his opponent something that was also featured in boxing news as they and many others thought Darryl at least deserved a share if not the actual win. Darryl’s back on the road again in the new year and if you get the chance go and see probably the hardest working fighter in boxing.

I would love to do a piece on all the lads but that will be another column for another day. Suffice to say they done themselves and their promoter proud and big things could be on the horizon for any one of them. As always, I’ll be around to big them up, as not only are they a talented bunch, they’re also a laugh to have a yap with.

The amateur side started to pick up as the months rolled by and we can be proud as Acacia Barron went on to become schoolgirl champion and start training with the England Squad, Nay jumped in and took a group of boxers into his own session and whilst many couldn’t cope with the dedication required by the self- confessed demanding coach, the ones that did came on in spades.

Before the winter period, Kieran sat down with his boxers and explained what would be required for those wanting to pursue the sport in 2017, and whilst the first few weeks showed great improvements many of the older boxers drifted away to do whatever teenagers do these days (the doors always open fellas). The youngsters as always stepped up to the plate culminating in 4 proving themselves ready to fight, whilst others know they’re close to being ready to step up.

Whilst I started the year exceptionally quiet and trying to find a place within the new system, the Farrell brothers shown great confidence and patience in me which allowed my own confidence to grow and allowed me to take a juniors lesson as Head Coach, something I wouldn’t have done without the great advice I get. I was also honoured to take the corner for my lad’s first skills bout but I’m looking forward to going back to seconds as I may just be a tad too harsh.

The year ended with us participating in a big multi gym skills/spar session hosted by Stephen Brady at his Tameside Elite Gym.  The 3 lads did very well, showing that they’re ready for what the new year will bring and they have nothing to fear from anyone, and as it’s my article a big shout out to my 10-year-old as he took on a giant from Bury ABC and held his own, it’s on my facebook page for anyone that wants to compliment me 😊.

So the professionals are coming on strong, new signings will bring an even bigger 2018 with the current crop pushing themselves to the limit, there’ll be wins, losses and controversy as is always the case with boxing and as always it’ll be exciting.

The amateurs have stepped up and we’re expecting good things from all involved, another champion to accompany Acacia hopefully but a steady improvement by all will be just as good.

I’m looking forward to learning even more and hopefully getting a bit more responsibility and watching my little girl, join her twin brother, as she gets ready to move up to sparring and skills sometime in the summer.

To finish, a big thank you to Kieran for giving me the opportunity to be involved, Nay for not shouting at me and putting up with me bugging him every time I see him 😊, Amy for all the background work and getting my application sorted,  all the boxers for chatting with me and keeping us fans entertained and lastly a big up to The Professor Alex Simpson as he moves on to new career opportunities.  The Farrell Brother in all but name has a bright future ahead and will always be a superhero in and out of the ring to all the juniors but especially to my twins, Stan and Ysobel.

I've been in the boxing industry for over 16 years but been a fan for almost double that figure. I'm the proud owner of TopClassBoxing which continues to go from strength to strength as we strive to give fight fans a voice to be heard amongst the community. I've also had several articles published by reputable magazines and you can usually catch me around ringside.

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