From humble beginnings as Woodseats ABC until they merged with Shire ABC in 2009, Sheffield City boxing club is producing champions and it’s only set to go up from there.
Situated at the Old Junior School on South View Road, the club has a lot to offer.
When I arrived, I was greeted by the team who were all more than happy to speak to me. I could tell immediately that they were very accommodating of new people, which was reflected by the number of people training in there.
A group of the junior boxers were training at the time with their parents at the sidelines looking on cheerfully. Sheffield ABC has a real family atmosphere, exactly want you’d want from a boxing club.
The space was colourful, well-lit and kitted out with all the equipment you could need, but for the number of people in there I couldn’t help but think they could do with a larger gym – Only having the one ring for sparring couldn’t possibly be enough for that many members.
When I spoke to head coach Brendan Warburton, he couldn’t help but sing their praises. Brendan told me: “Since moving down here we’ve taken off – We’ve got three national champions, English champions and kids boxing for England.”
Boxer Matt Smith won the Yorkshire novice title earlier this year.
He told me: “My plans for the future are to keep on winning. The goal is to just win my next bout and take it from there, get in the mix and win some titles.
“It’s an excellent gym – its a bit like a family. Everyone’s really close.
“Get yourself down if you want to learn how to box!”
Nine year veteran of the club Callum Beardow is currently the English Cruiserweight champion. On top of this, he also helps Brendan with coaching the rest of the team.
“It’s brilliant working here – it’s like a second home. If I had a sleeping bag I’d be sleeping in the ring!
“I’ve trained at gyms all over the country and this is the best I’ve been to. They have the friendliest staff you could ever meet but they also know what they’re on about.
“I’m looking to win the elite championships later this year, hopefully turn pro and see what I can do in the pro ranks and build myself up.
“Watch this space!”
As well as the senior fighters, Sheffield City ABC is also developing young talent. 16-year-old Niall Sharp believes the club is the perfect place for aspiring boxers to hone their skills.
He told us: “The commitment here is just unreal. The coaches give you loads of help – Honestly, it’s a different level.
“We have everything we need here. The coaches are all lovely people who want you to become a better boxer and are willing to give up their time to help you be the best you can.
“I want to see where I can get in the championships but the real goal is the olympics – that’s always been a dream of mine since I was a kid. For now, I’m going to see how I do in the ABAs and hopefully become Yorkshire champion.”
Looking towards the future, head coach Brendan wants to increase the social impact of the gym.
“Our plans for the future are to keep developing this gym. Our success has led on to other things like working in schools – helping kids with learning difficulties or those that aren’t getting on at school.
“We do a refugee session where any refugees can come and train down here on Mondays for free. We also do sessions for taxi drivers on a health basis trying to get them doing more exercise.”
Brendan credited some of his teams recent success to their relationship with Boxing Science.
“We’ve been working with Boxing Science for the past 5 or 6 years now. We’ve seen massive benefits from working with them. It’s taken the training that little step further – Getting our boxers stronger, faster and fitter.
“Our boxers have to be committed and working with Boxing Science is only going to help that.”
Boxing Science intern and Sheffield City’s strength and conditioning coach Tommy Munday believes the club has what it takes to keep on producing champions.
“The staff here are second to none. We’re all singing off the same hymn sheet, all working towards a common goal – Helping each other out and looking out for each other.
“We have great facilities here but we could do with a bigger gym. We’re trying to raise our profile to access more funding. Some nights we can have 50 to 60 lads in but with only one ring, so we could do with more space.
“My goals for the future are to help as many of the lads here as possible to become the best versions of themselves that they can be. Whether its a 12 year old learning the basics or a senior elite boxer winning a title.
“We all want to improve the club and get more people involved.”
It’s easy to see why so many of the team share their passion to improve the gym and keep on building the club. Sheffield City ABC are a tight-knit unit who all want to help each other succeed and you can tell that the moment you step through the door.
Although that was only my first visit to the club, I’m sure it won’t be my last.
By Harry Ingham.
For more information on Sheffield City ABC, contact them on 07791301984 or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SheffieldCityAbc.