New boxing era for Kingfishers

THE image of boxing in the Great Yarmouth area received a massive boost on Saturday when the Kingfisher Club opened the doors of its bright new gym.

Norfolk professionals Jon Thaxton and Sam Sexton were among those who saw Keith Walters, chairman of the Amateur Boxing Association, and Cecil Page, Kingfisher’s president, perform the official opening.

Mr Walters said the new facility at the former Tower Dance Club on Riverside Road, Gorleston, represented “a new beginning and a brighter future for the Kingfisher Amateur Boxing Club”. He said the club had a proud record of achievement that was recognised nationally.

The ABA, in partnership with Sport England, awarded a grant of �70,000 towards the �300,000-plus purchase and transformation of the building, which was gutted before a new roof, suspended ceilings and electrical system were installed.

It now features two full-sized boxing rings, a complete range of training equipment, weights and a general purpose hall that can be used by community groups.

Much of the work was undertaken by volunteers and many suppliers contributed products and services.

The Kingfisher Club, which was started in 1964, moved to Riverside Road from its previous base in St Peter’s Plain, Yarmouth, where its membership numbered about 100. It is hoped this will increase to 170 during the next four years.

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Albert Jones, club vice-president, said: “When we started this project last February I don’t think anyone would have dreamed we would end up with something as special as this.

“I’d like to thank all the volunteers and sponsors who have played a part in realising this fantastic facility.”

The club, which has 14 volunteer qualified coaches, has an enviable record. Since 1996 it has had representatives in the national finals every year but one, and since 2000, nine members have boxed for England.

Thirteen of its boxers were in action on Saturday night in a tournament at the Ocean Room, Gorleston, where eight of them ran out winners against opponents representing several East Anglian clubs.