The benefits of boxing

On September 7, 1892, in New Orleans, James J Corbett defeated John L Sullivan in 21 rounds.

This was the first world heavyweight championship contest in which conventional gloves were worn.

I first learned of this momentous event when as a young child I watched the 1942 film Gentleman Jim.

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Errol Flynn played Jim Corbett and Ward Bond played John L Sullivan. From that moment forward, I was hooked on boxing.

When I started secondary school, boxing training was available and I looked forward to every half-hour session. I trained briefly at St Vincent’s boxing gym, Solly Street, Sheffield in the late 70s.

After a few exhibition fights I hung up my gloves and concentrated on supporting local amateur boxing and watching professional bouts.

I attended lots of great fights around the country and met many great fighters including, Henry Cooper, Marvin Hagler, Trevor Berbick, Mike McCallum and many more.

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On March 24, 2016, High Green Boxing Club opened with the help of Paul Watson, St Vincent’s gym and my life- long friend Wayne Simpson, owner of Thorncliffe Community Sports Bar.

Brendan Ingle kindly attended the opening ceremony at the request of Paul Watson, also Kell Brook turned up on a number of occasions to support and have his photograph taken with the kids.

I and a number of friends and colleagues have been pushing for a boxing gym in or around High Green for a couple of years.

After an article I wrote explaining the merits of boxing clubs was printed in The Sheffield Star, I was contacted by Paul Watson who read the article in the news paper.

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We got together to discus the project and within a year we got it on.

Everyone involved in boxing knows its benefits.

We are not teaching kids to fight or spar, we are promoting discipline, self control and defence, exercise, fitness and diet, which all leads to self belief and confidence.

If in time they want to take their boxing to the next level, then they will be helped to advance as far as they wish to go.

All those who attend High Green Boxing club have excelled themselves, and all look forward to attending week after week.

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Our goal is to see more boxing gyms in more areas and boxing training available in all schools for those who wish to take part.

Exercise, fitness and diet are more important now than perhaps any other time in history.

Councillor John Booker

by email

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