By Elizabeth Hughes
It has been quite a year for Coach Adam Haniver and the young boxers he trains on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) at City College Brighton and Hove.
After surviving funding cuts threatened by the change of government in May last year, the Academy opened its doors in November 2010. Since then, there has been a 2 week training camp in Tenerife, the first competitive bout for the team’s only female boxer and a National Title win for an Olympic hopeful.
The Academy is one of just seven Performance Centres in the country offering modern facilities and training techniques alongside formal qualifications. Funding comes from the Government Apprenticeship scheme, which the new coalition administration agreed to continue.
Students graduate with a Level 3 Boxing NVQ, a Level 3 BTEC Sport Diploma and have options to gain Gym Instructor and Personal Trainer qualifications too. It’s a powerful combination. Boxers improve in ability and skills but they also learn the science behind effective training and nutrition. They feel in control of their physical progress and leave with qualifications to help them to build a career outside of the ring.
Archie Hutchins, 17, had to leave his family home near Reading and relocate to Brighton, where he lives with a host family, in order to take his place at the Academy. The majority of the apprentices have had to make the same step and helping them to settle into an
adult, independent way of life in a strange city has been one of the biggest challenges
for their coaches.
The move has worked for Archie. Focussing on boxing full-time has helped him progress from winning at County level to becoming National Junior ABA Middleweight Champion. Being away from his home town and old friends has helped him to keep his nose clean in other ways too.
“I’m not a trouble maker,” says Archie, “but maybe I would wind people up with my mates and trouble would sometimes find me. Boxing has given me more discipline; I’m less mouthy now and have got more self control.”
In October Archie is fighting in the Clubs for Young People Boxing Championships – a showcase for the best young boxers, with the likes of Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton having taken part in the past. Over the coming year he will move up to senior level, where he will face opponents up to 34 years of age. In the long term his goal is a place in Team GB and fighting in the 2016 Olympics.
Shoreham boxer Luke Batstone, is also keen to represent his country. Luke, 23, fights for Moulsecoomb Amateur Boxing Club (ABC), talks enthusiastically about the day he received the letter inviting him to apply to the AASE Boxing Academy.
“I never expected a single letter could have such an impact on my life.” says Luke. “It led to me being able to train full-time and spent 2 weeks in Tenerife at an intensive training camp. The course is brilliant. It’s given me a sense of direction and real goals to aim for. Now I want to go to university & study sports science, as well as become the best light heavyweight in the country.”
Luke’s progress continued in style in September when he easily won his fight in Belfast by stopping his opponent in the first round.
Luke’s hard work and positive attitude have been recognised by his coaches who have nominated him for the Sussex Sports Awards 2011. Finalists will be announced in October and winners revealed at an awards evening at the Hilton Brighton Metropole in November.
“To get into the ring is an achievement in itself”
Raven Chapman is a pretty, petite, shy 17-year-old woman who looks nothing like the stereotypical image of a female boxer; and that’s exactly how she likes it. Currently the only woman boxer on the course of 15 students, Raven enjoys being different and surprising people with her chosen career.
Trained by her father until joining the Academy she saw the course as an opportunity to progress physically and understand all areas of the sport, such as dealing with injuries and the importance of nutrition. More than that, like her fellow students, Raven also talks about how the Academy has helped her to grow personally.
“A year ago I was nervous about speaking to people I didn’t know,” she says. “Now I’ve got used to giving interviews and my confidence has grown.” Smiling she adds, “Mentally, to get into the ring is an achievement in itself.”
Raven is emphatic in her advice to other women thinking about taking up boxing; “Do it! It’s a great way to get fit and stay fit. You feel great after training, learn self defence skills and boost your confidence.”
Find more information at the following sites:
City College Brighton and Hove AASE Boxing Academy
The Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) – National body recognised by Sport England. It is responsible for the governance, development and administration of boxing in schools, clubs and competition.
Clubs for Young People (CYP) is a network of over 3,000 projects across the UK offering activities as diverse as photography, leadership and various sports, including boxing.
Active Sussex is one of 49 County Sports Partnerships in England, largely funded by the Government to coordinate and facilitate the delivery of sport and physical activity initiatives in the City of Brighton & Hove and across East and West Sussex. The Sussex Sports Awards reward quality, achievement, determination and commitment in the county.