Club Case Study: City of Hull providing a haven for all

September 20, 2023 | by Chris Boyd


The City of Hull Boxing Club has come a long way since its inception in the Garden Village Area of Hull with just four boxers.

A promising start to the club saw membership numbers expand rapidly and a move to a new premises, based in the Orchard Park Area of Hull, was essential. Funding through the help of the National Lottery Fund and Hull City Council enabled this to become a reality and the club hasn’t looked back since.

The coaching team has grown to six coaches and six volunteers, with the latter mostly consisting of parents of boxers who enjoy giving back to the club in their spare time.

Female coach Natasha Dolan started off at City of Hull as a boxer and was the first female to box out of the club before deciding she wanted a more permanent role as a coach – inspiring the next generation of boxers coming through.

It’s the addition of coaches which helps the City of Hull support their partnerships with two schools, assisting children who have been taken out of mainstream schooling. Those children attend the club during the day and are taught different skills, both in and out of boxing.

The hope is they see the positives of boxing and are given the motivation to change their lives positively through the sport.

The club also has a partnership with the police and the two came together in the face of a recent tragedy.

A young boy lost his life in the Orchard Park Estate during a motorbike accident and the event prompted a community day to be held behind the boxing club, showing young people different ways to get themselves off the streets and stay occupied.

The police asked the City of Hull to put up a ring and display sparring sessions between their boxers. The club also gave passers-by the chance to have a go on the pads with some of the coaches.

Moving forward, the club remain committed to helping youngsters overcome any disadvantages they may face, with a particular focus on those who struggled during the COVID pandemic.

They also have a strong, coachable squad and they are looking forward to progressing further to achieve the squad’s goals.

Kam Dodds, now nineteen, has been involved in boxing since the age of six after wanting to join the club and emulate his older brother.

He had twenty-eight bouts before being diagnosed with arthritis, a condition which has prevented Dodds from being able to perform at his best and has forced him to hang up the gloves and move into coaching.

Dodds said: “I still wanted to be involved in the club and it is still a huge part of my life now I’m coaching and doing corners.

“I am really enjoying passing on my knowledge to the youngsters and seeing boxing from a different perspective. I’m looking forward to learning and progressing as a coach.”

Paul Dolan, head coach of the club, said: “The goals for City of Hull are those of a family community club.

“We would like to help any person, from all walks of life, to achieve their ability and to go as far as they wish to go with boxing.

“We are very proud to see kids from our academy grow up into fine, young people who go on to university with exemplary manners, respect and discipline in spite of coming from a deprived area which often gets a lot of bad press.

“I believe we are doing something right with the youngsters in our area and we hope to continue to do so.”