'Boxing saved me' says the ex-con unearthing young stars at his Sheffield gym

In the midst of a troubled Sheffield neighbourhood where gun and knife crime are never far from the surface, one ex-con turned community leader is turning lives around through the power of boxing.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 4:22 pm

Reagan ‘Dynamite’ Denton had it all. The fast cars, the women and the money.

It all came crashing down when he was charged with involvement in 36 armed robberies in Sheffield but escaped conviction on a technicality, eventually serving two and a half years for his involvement in the theft of high value cars.

But, he says ‘boxing saved me and boxing made me’.

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Reagan Denton runs the De Hood Boxing Centre & Community Hub in Sheffield

His own career saw him win 18 from 19 fights, taking the Yorkshire Amateur Champion title and being offered a shot at a European title by Frank Warren at the age of 17.

Now, running a successful boxing gym in a former primary school on the Manor Estate in Sheffield, Reagan works with more than 400 local kids every week – 23 of them being newly ‘carded’ at amateur level and ready for competition honours.

One of Reagan’s stable of young fighters has already been talent-spotted by Frank Warren.

Reagan Denton works with more than 400 children every week at the De Hood Boxing Centre & Community Hub in Sheffield

“We’ve got some real stars among this group and there’s some names of the future to look out for”, says Reagan, smiling with pride.

“I went to this school myself, so it’s got sentimental value to me and it’s great to see it still serving the community”.

De Hood Boxing Centre & Community Hub is now a registered charity and Reagan’s recipe for diverting young lives away from crime, drugs & anti-social behaviour has the backing of Sheffield Council, the local police & crime commissioner and the newly formed South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.

Young fighters at the De Hood Boxing Centre & Community Hub in Sheffield

“I see myself in every one of these kids, says Reagan. They learn, respect, discipline and dignity in their lives and that makes a me feel good. I made all the mistakes, so they don’t have to”, he adds.