Gallery: Ring of confidence

AFTER years in the wilderness, Royston Amateur Boxing Club is going from strength to strength with its second dinner show taking place later this month. And under the guidance of club president Andy Geraghty and chairman and North Herts District council

AFTER years in the wilderness, Royston Amateur Boxing Club is going from strength to strength with its second dinner show taking place later this month.

And under the guidance of club president Andy Geraghty and chairman and North Herts District councillor Bill Davidson, the club is in great hands.

Back on its feet and off the ropes after a two-year absence from the town, and the upheaval of finding a suitable new location, the club is now concentrating on the development of its talented youngsters.

Geraghty said: "It was a difficult few years for the club, and for a little while it looked in real danger.

"If we hadn't found a new home, then who knows what might have happened?"

Re-forming Royston ABC in 2003, after it had folded two years earlier, Geraghty got the club up and running with the aim of giving the town's youngsters a chance to try the sport.

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However, three years later, the club suffered another blow, with the news it would have to leave its base at Bassingbourn Barracks.

Geraghty said: "I started it up because my son and his friends were showing a keen interest in the sport, but the town didn't have a club.

"Royston has always had a strong boxing tradition, and it was a real shame that we had nothing to show for it.

"So we got involved, and with a lot of hard work we opened the club at the barracks.

However, for one reason or anther, we had to move, and that was a big problem.

"With nowhere to go we were given a lifeline by Bill and Pc (at the time) Colin Mingay, and they helped us to set up a new home at the Coombes Community Centre in Burns Road, where we have been for the past two years.

"They have been fantastic, and without their help we wouldn't be where we are today.

"In those two years the club has grown, and we've made a big difference to a lot of youngsters.

"A few of them have had some problems, and the club really has given them a chance to turn things around, and channel any aggression. It's been a great success!"

As well as having Geraghty's vast boxing background, the club also boasts head coach Tony Carolan, who has fought four former world champion boxers in his time, and Georgious Konstantinidis, who is also a coach for the Greek national team.

Currently the club has between 20-30 members, aged from 10 to 25, with training every Tuesday and Thursday night from 8-9.30pm.

And already some of the club's talented youngsters are showing signs of fulfilling their promise, with Ryan Hutchings, Wesley Washington, Conor Barnard, Ben Wagland, and Lee Geraghty all boxing competitively.

"We've got a lot of experienced coaches at the club, and we're already seeing signs of some very talented young boxers," said Geraghty.

"There's certainly a lot of promise here and we have high hopes for them all - the club's got a bright future."

Chairman Davidson believes the club's ambitions could be even brighter, with the development of its own purpose-built gym.

He said: "That's certainly something we will be looking at over the next few years. It would be most beneficial, because at the moment it's extremely hard work setting up the ring and bags.

"It usually takes a good half-hour to set up and put away.

"In an ideal world we would love to have a gym, and I think that would be good for the rest of the community too, because it would be available to them as well.

"We could run various fitness sessions throughout the week for men and women, and I think we could really get the best out of it. It would be a great idea."

The club will be hosting its second dinner show on Saturday, April 19, at The Meridian School from 7.30pm.

The evening will act as a showcase for the club's emerging talent, with Royston ABC taking on visiting clubs in more than 10 bouts.

Mr Davidson said: "It promises to be a very good night, with some quality boxing, a three-course meal, and a guest of honour.

"It's a great chance for people to see the club, as well as raising its awareness.

"Last year we all had a brilliant time, and this year we've already got more than 200 guests attending, so it should be another great night.

"Money raised from the event will be shared with other organisations in the community, as well as help us buy new equipment.

"We'd like to kit the boys out with club gear, and organise a tour to Ireland.

"This is a good opportunity for people to see how far we have come, because this is a club that is going places."

For more information on the Royston Amateur Boxing Club dinner show phone 07947 375382.

For more Royston ABC photographs visit our picture gallery.

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