The Waterside boxing club have had soon to be world champion Carl Frampton officially open the club, they have had boxers in 12 tournaments throughout the year and they also have three district champs.
For coaches Martin Mancini, Nigel Hagon and Gary Martin things really couldn’t have went any better for them, but like all sports people they want to improve and more importantly they want the club to produce more boxers.
“We have three district champions already in Jordan Simpson, Marcus McCorkell and Jake McCloskey, now these guys had never boxed before, we also have an undefeated female boxer in Suzy Kennedy” said Mancini.
“ We have never put anyone in the ring who has boxed before, all our guys are raw, they are all novice boxers and they are district champions already.”
Another boxer who all three coaches have high hopes for in the future is a 10-year-old Donemana lad.
“We have a young boxer who can’t competitively box until he’s 11-years-old, but we have really great hopes for young DJ Dougherty he’s phenomenal,” added Mancini.
“He has entered six exhibition tournaments and if they were to go to the judges scorecards he would have won every single bout.
“He’s dedicated, he’s at training every night and is first in the door at 6.15pm and normally last out of the gym.”
Martin was over the moon with the Waterside based club competing in 12 tournaments this year.
“At our recent AGM, we entered 12 tournaments, which totally blew our expectations and it really has been brilliant, but we want to do even better next season, especially in terms of getting more boxers to the club.”
Hagon too has been delighted how the numbers at the club have stayed consistent throughout the year and because of that he has high hopes those numbers will increase next year.
“We have over 110 adult members, but we need more boxers, we have plenty of people for fitness, but we need more boxers,” he conceded.
“We have held three major events at the club, but we haven’t held our own competition yet, we held an open tournament for the kids who had not boxed, but our first official event will be this year on Saturday October 4.
“Hopefully by then we’ll have at least ten carded boxers who can fight that night. We did hold a joint event with the Ring ABC club, which was a very successful night in February. There were six of our boxers and six of their boxers and it was a really successful evening.”
The cross community boxing club really has everyone from young boys and girls to adults all training and learning the art of boxing together.
“We cater for members starting at aged nine to 16 for juniors with training Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6.30pm until 7.30pm and then the seniors from 16-years-old until any age come in also on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s from 8pm until 9.30pm,” added Martin.
“Carl opened the club officially for us last August and he is now the patron of the club and we are hoping that he’ll come back and visit the club some time in the not too distant future.
“His dad Craig brought some boxers up from his Midland club in Belfast recently and they enjoyed the day.”
Mancini also admits that parents of the young boxers have say they have seen a positive difference in their child since joining Rochesters ABC.
“A lot of people see boxing as being disciplined, but we don’t use the word discipline in the club, we still maintain the word respect,” he stated.
“We respect our boxers, they respect us and I have had some parents come up to me saying the change in their attitude, they are not the normal teenager, they have gone to becoming more polite, saying please and thank-you, which is pleasing.
“The thing that we have installed in our boxers is to listen, because if you don’t listen when you are training you get hurt in the ring, because they aren’t listening to what we are asking them to do.
“Looking back over the 12 months if people look at the original photographs when we set up and now with what we have got, then they can see how far we have come and we are going from strength to strength, but we still want to recruit more and more.
“A lot of money is being put into boxing at the minute by Sport NI, there’s a big pot out there, we are tapping into it, in fairness we are getting great support from them. But we are aiming to fund ourselves and also we are looking at having new facilitates being built with showers, female and male changing rooms, so it’s onwards and upwards for us.”
Hagon also admits that fellow boxing clubs like the Ring and Oakleaf have been a tremendous help to them this year.
“Look when you look at all the rest of the clubs from the town, successful clubs like Ring and Oakleaf, they all started somewhere and from what we have achieved in our first year, the guys in the other clubs have said it’s fantastic,” conceded Hagon.
“The support we are getting from some of those clubs has been super. We work in great partnership with the Ring, our guys go over their and spar with them and that’s great, because we do have a great cross community in our club and working with clubs like the Ring only helps that.”