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Nurturing a city of heroes

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Boxing is finally being invested in and it’s not too soon says the city’s amateur boxers

When Gorbals-born Benny Lynch defeated Fillipino Small Montana to become the undisputed world flyweight boxing champion in 1934, Glasgow was firmly established as a haven for up and coming talent in the sport.

Since then there’s been a host of boxing heroes coming out of the city – all cutting their teeth in amateur boxing clubs, many of which are run by volunteers.

You have to invest in sport if you want a return and this facility will encourage more people into the sport - Debbie Jefferson

Now success is once again at the fore and symbolically much of the hope is being pinned on a new £10m high performance centre in Bridgeton’s iconic Olympia building – which sits at heart of the area’s regeneration effort.

As Scotland’s governing body for boxing, Boxing Scotland is using the cutting edge facility to train and develop its best elite talent.

As a sport, boxing has always been considerably under-funded in Scotland and consequently was served by volunteers using old warehouses, dilapidated huts and converted churches the length and breadth of the country for training.

Richard Thomas, chairman of Boxing Scotland, said: “Sports have a number of facets, but performance and the creation of champions is a priority which we see as a means to grow the sport post-Glasgow 2014.

“This facility, in conjunction with our excellent coaching team, the Sportscotland Institute, and the continued talent that streams from our clubs, gives boxing the best chance of increased medals and increased numbers.”

Glasgow’s east end has a rich tradition of boxing, which was part of the reason for choosing the Olympia, another reason being that boxing is one of the core sports of the Commonwealth Games in which the east end is playing no small part.

And for the first time ever in Commonwealth Games history, women boxers are competing.

Debbie Jefferson, 21, has been boxing for three years and trained in a club in the Gorbals.

She’s made the move to the Bridgeton facility and believes it will give amateur boxers the best possible start.

“It is what we’ve been calling out for,” she said. “The facilities are top quality and the coaching is excellent too.

“You have to invest in sport if you want a return and this facility will encourage more people into the sport – especially females as there has been too few for too long.

 

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