Boxing in the Western Counties has recently undergone a long awaited revolution, thanks to the hard work of the new regional coach Kevin Hay and his willing and able team.
A strategy meeting was held with all the leading coaches from the region invited to attend. A Plan of Action was produced aimed at producing more national champions and international boxers.
The first male squad was held at Broad Plain in Bristol with 43 Junior and 18 Senior boxers, all targeted because of their abilities. Advanced coaches Kevin Hay and Alan Brightman, assisted by Senior coaches Les Brooking and Gary Cave put the lads through a highly technical but very enjoyable day.
The following week the region's female boxers had their very first squad gathering. A dozen talented girls were coached by Kevin, Les and Andy O'Kane and they finished off the day with a competitive spar. The ladies enjoyed the opportunity to train with their peers and took to the training with great determination.
Following on from the squad, Hay took a mixed team to Cardiff where they were matched with a Welsh team made up entirely of internationals.
The Bout of the night was Adam Griggs hard fought win, over four rounds, against Paul Chapple. The strong and aggressive Chapple led 8-3 after round one but a sensational round saw the talented Griggs level the scores. The appreciative Welsh crowd were on their feet in a real toe to toe battle. Strong and compact, Chapple hunted down his West Country rival, but couldn't match his firepower; Griggs ramrod back hand landing regularly to earn a unanimous decision.
Wales Becky Price was voted "best boxer" following her points win over Christine Shergold. Clever countering combinations and fast hard jabs saw experienced Becky home to a points decision.
Bristols Jason Gardener sent his fans back across the Severn Bridge happy after a well fought four round show. Gardner's relentless pressure gave him a big lead after round one, and the increased pace in round two bought an unassailable lead. Wales Ian Jenkins battled back well but Gardner used his strength and power to great effect and ran out a well deserved winner.
Other Western Counties boxers on the night were Dominic Ash, Hariet Quick, Danny Webb, Aaron Seldon, Dan Stewart and Sam Wilcox.
Coach, Kevin Hay, was delighted with the effort his boxers displayed. In turn, the boxers were visibly proud during the pre-fight ring parade.
Monthly squads are planned, with further home and away team matches already arranged.
Western Counties as a Region are back as a competitive force.
Meanwhile, the Regional Secretary, Steve Brooks is busily sorting out funding to take the squad forward to ensure that this excellent progress can continue.