Central Boxing Club’s one-year milestone

Central Boxing Club, Batley.  Tony Aitcheson (left) and James Ancliff (right) with trainer Julian McGowan
Central Boxing Club, Batley. Tony Aitcheson (left) and James Ancliff (right) with trainer Julian McGowan

THE Central Boxing Club will celebrate a notable landmark next week, 12 months after open it’s doors for the first time.

It has been a topsy turvy year for coaches Julian McGowan and John Tallant and their stable of professional and novice fighters but it has only made them more determined to succeed and bring titles to the area.

Head coach of Central McGowan said: “This boxing game is brutal and we are in a cut throat business but the end we have had to the year has given everyone a lift

“We have a four-strong pro stable and the success of the novice classes has been phenomenal to the point we are now turning people away.

“When we opened we promised three things – to bring titles to the gym, which we’ve delivered with Josh Warrington’s English title, fitness boxing classes which would be the best for miles around and the third a venue for top class fighters to come train and we have delivered all those.”

Dewsbury’s former British champion Gary Sykes cut the ribbon to open the Central Club almost a year to the day and it has been a turbulent 12 months for the 28-year-old.

Sykes went from fighting a six-round contest in Hull to having a shot at then WBO super featherweight champion Adrien Broner in Las Vegas cruelly snatched away in the summer.

Sykes again stepped up to the plate in October, moving up a division to enter the Prizefighter Lightweight competition in Liverpool, only to be denied victory in the final on a split decision.

The Dewsbury man is now planning a big year in 2013 and is already preparing for a shot at the English super featherweight title in March, a fight in which he hopes will provide a springboard back to the big time.

It is thanks to the hard work of McGowan, Tallant and Mark Hurley that Central is thriving a year on.

The club have a close knit stable of four fighters with Tony Aitcheson preparing for his ring return in March, Scottish super featherweight James Ancliff having been taken under the wing of McGowan and Tallant and unbeaten Leeds featherweight Josh Warrington also using the Central as his base.

Terry Flanagan who narrowly defeated Sykes in the Prizefighter final, Hull prospect Tommy Coyle, Carl Johanneson, Jazza Dickinson and Newcastle’s English bantamweight champion Martin Ward have all used the Batley gym for sparring and there is also hope that Joe Gallagher will bring his stable of Manchester fighters across the Pennines for sessions in the near future.

McGowan added: “What is best for me is when people say about cracking atmosphere we have here and the camaraderie me and John have created.

“Boxing is not the easiest of industries to be involved in but we are working hard to achieve success.

“We are constantly getting people to the gym and Joe Gallagher has said he’s be bringing some of his kids down.

“Central may last another 20 years or six months we just don’t know but we are getting people approaching us all the time about the good things they have heard of the gym and if they can come train here.

“We get as much delight from training the novice classes as we do from the pros and we can’t deny that we are in it for the love of the sport but also to win titles.

“Vegas didn’t happen for Sykes but I just know we are going to get another massive fight involving Gary down the line. If that was a glorious night in winning the Lonsdale belt outright that would be fantastic.”

The novice classes became so popular that numbers had to be limited to ensure everyone got enough personal attention from the coaches.

The Central team have already hit the ground running ahead of a hectic and important year ahead.

All four of their professionals will be fighting in the coming weeks, with McGowan and Tallant promising a huge year ahead for local boxing.

McGowan added: “Within the next 12 months I want Sykes fighting for the British title again.

“Tony (Aitcheson) has also got titles written all over him but he has got to be patent and play the waiting game.”

Any money raised from the novice classes is ploughed back into the gym, helping buy new equipment and just recently a full size ring was purchased.

Central coaches are currently looking for a local sponsor who would provide funds to buy a new canvas for that ring and they can be found at Dicky’s Gym, just off Hick Lane, Batley.