By Community Reporter Kerrie Nicholson
Boxing has always been a huge part of Knowle West’s heritage – and a local club is continuing to build on its success producing local champions.
Knowle Amateur Boxing Club has been based at Filwood Community Centre for the past 26 years, run by former boxers Bobby Jones and Neil McDonnell.
The club caters for both children and adults, with ages ranging from seven to 40 and has had several successful boxers pass through its doors.
The latest is sixteen-year-old Noah Marshall who this year achieved Runner Up at the England National Youth Championships. He fought against five times champion Karol Itauma in the 76kg to 81kg category.
Noah, a regular since he was eight, is currently studying sport at Filton College and also plays rugby for The Academy.
He says: “I felt proud, I was nervous at first and didn’t expect to get that far. We’re not a very big club so bringing back a silver medal gave a boost to the club…
“I’ve always been active and liked boxing as a sport. I won my first competition at 11…”
Other former champions from the club include Richard O’Connor, Young England and Schoolboy runner up, Lee Cotterill, Schoolboy Champion and Luke Clayfield Schoolboy and Junior runner up in the Great Britain Championships.
Bobby (58), who boxed for England from 1977-85 believes the club’s success is a combination of motivation, discipline – and keeping the area’s heritage going.
He says: “There have been so many boxers in Knowle and families want to keep the tradition going…It gives them respect for the community they have been brought up in and saves them from hanging about on the streets.
“We’re amateur boxing club – it’s all about getting through the gym, waiting until you are fit, getting a medical and entering competitions which can be anywhere in the country…”
And Neil McDonnell says: “…To someone who has never been involved in boxing it may seem brutal but boxing is so much more than that you need to be really fit to box and getting fit needs discipline which is only a good thing…
“I once read that Amateur Boxing is the purest of boxing because there is no money involved the coaches and the boxers do it for free.”
Knowle Boxing Club holds sessions on Mondays from 7.30-8.30pm at Filwood Community Centre. For more information contact Bobby Jones on0777 577 3686.