Flying start for Grangetown ABC’s comeback

November 1, 2022 | by Matt Halfpenny


Fledgling Tyne, Tees and Wear club Grangetown Amateur Boxing Club is thriving after resurrecting amateur boxing in the local area.

After the old Grangetown ABC folded more than 20 years ago, a club was re-established in February after being requested by local young people.

They now benefit from a club that is at the heart of its, community, teaching local youngsters, respect and discipline and giving them self-confidence and boxing skills, while keeping them out of trouble.

Grangetown – situated between Middlesbrough and Redcar – is run by volunteer coaches including Tony Ray, Andy Green and Joe Lappin while Lynn Pallister helped secure the funding for the club through Sport England and the Impetus Trust – a charity which aims to transform young lives in disadvantaged areas.

Already around 60 children of all ages attend the gym, including 22 carded boxers as well as a number of adults.

“Our first official training nights started earlier this year so our carded fighters have only been going really for six or seven months but they’re coming on really well,” Ray, who has been a keen boxer for almost 40 years, having competed while in the Army, told

“We don’t just teach them boxing, we teach them life skills as well.

“There’s a lot of trouble round here and on day one we set out rules and disciplines for them to follow – if they don’t they’re out it’s as simple as that.

“We tell them that they shouldn’t take their boxing outside the ring, we bring them in here which benefits the community because we teach the kids self-respect and how to conduct themselves properly.”

As well as teaching how to box properly and safely, the coaches also give advice on healthy eating and how to behave in school environments and out in the local community.

Tony added: “We had a young lad come in who had anger problems and when he first started and he had an arrogance about him. Now he’s at training 10-15 minutes before everyone else and is ready to train.

“Even his Nana says she’s seen a massive change in him since he started boxing with us and has even come to apologise to us for his attitude which is a big thing for him.

“He’s only one example of lots of kids who have changed positively since they started boxing with us, when they first got in the ring you could see the anger in their eyes as they looked across the ring at each other, and now they walk to the centre to touch gloves. They’re all friends now and the teamwork is absolutely outstanding.”

Another landmark moment for the club came last month when it saw its first ever female competitor – on the same name weekend Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall fought Claressa Shields for the right to be a unified world professional champion.

Tillie Hierons took on Libby McCusker of Redcar in a skills bout, and the club hope she will be the first of many girls to come through the ranks.

Find out more about the club by going to its Facebook page by clicking here.

Watch a video on the club’s progress so far by clicking here.