DiSE 10th birthday: coaches pick their highlights

November 3, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


With the DiSE programme (formerly known as AASE) celebrating its 10th birthday on Sunday 1st November, the current Head Coaches of the six hubs around the country pick out their favourite moments.

View the DiSE 10th birthday photo album by clicking here.


Adam Haniver (Greater Brighton Metropolitan College)

Without sounding too cliché, there are so many great moments throughout the decade I’ve been a DiSE coach that it’s very difficult to pick just one.

But, I am going to choose a recent one. In the England Boxing National Youth Championships earlier this year, four of our boxers really excelled.

Both David Pegado and Alfie Woods, who are very close friends, beat boxers with double their experience to reach the semi-finals – and then drew each other!

David won that bout and then going on to the final to lose out to the European Youth Championships silver medallist Adam Azim. How both of these boxers handled themselves leading up to the bout was fantastic to see in terms of their professionalism and attitude.

Meanwhile, their DiSE Academy mate Vinnie Wadey went all the way and won the Under 80kg national titlem while current second year Phoebe Griffiths-Johnson also acquitted herself well before losing in the final.

Three of these boxers are now on the England talent pathway, with their friendship is captured brilliantly in the photograph.

More about the Brighton hub.

Mark Collings (Spotlight, London)

There have been many notable student/boxers at the London AASE/DISE venues – Harvey Horn, Ted Cheeseman, Dan Woledge, Omar Augustine, Isaac Chamberlain, Archie Sharp, to name a few.

But the one that really stands out as the real highlight for me is Chris Bourke Pictured below) from 2011-13.

He joined the course having had just five bouts for Balham BC and two years after leaving he was on the GB squad.

Outside of boxing, another stand out, in terms of success, was Michael Anderton, who came in 2012 with a record of trouble from past schools and hardly a qualification to his name.

By the time he left in 2014, having gained his GCSEs in Maths and English, as well as all his other qualifications, he went on to get a good job in construction.

We have had some great success stories both in the ring and in the classroom these past 10 years, which has been a privilege to see.

More about the London hub.

Steve Cranston (Gateshead College Academy for Sport)

I have witnessed some great moments during to AASE/DiSE years. There is a great feeling of satisfaction when one of our boxers leaves as a success, or become a success shortly after leaving.

Cyrus Pattinson, the current GB Podium boxer, was a real success story. Achieved all by his own hand and hard work, he is an inspiration to any young boxer.

Over the years we have had some great visits to the programme from teams and boxers.

The Columbian National team came and trained before travelling on to the World Championships. They were welcomed back again and trained with us with their Cuban coaches before the London 2012 Olympics, a team of wonderful characters.

Nicola Adams brought her gold medal from the London 2012 Olympics to Gateshead. She ran a great training session for the boxers and chatted informally with them over lunch.

George Groves came whilst in training for his second bout with Carl Froch (see picture below). He finished his training session in the college gym whilst the boxers watched on.

When he finished he surprised them all by saying “who wants to spar?”, then had a little move around with each boxer offering bits of advice, which was hugely appreciated.

Here’s to another 10 years.

More about the Gateshead hub.

Michael Biggs (SGS College, Bristol)

A noticeable achievement for me would Taylor Andrew’s winning the Haringey Box Cup in 2019 in the 64kg category.

Taylor (pictured below, centre) has also gone on to successfully gain a place in the RAF and is an example of what can be achieved on the DiSE programme if you apply yourself.

Riccardo Coral also won a bronze medal at the Haringey Box Cup and has now been accepted for a Sports Scholarship after successfully being accepted at his chosen university.

More about the Bristol hub.

Ivan Cobb (University College Birmingham)

I started the my DiSE journey at South Leicestershire College in 2011. Over the next three years, I was fortunate to have some good boxers in Courtney Challenger and Callum Blockley who are both forging it in a professional career at this present time

I also had the pleasure to work with the current GB podium boxer Ben Whittaker. In 2014, the Midland programme moved away from Leicester to Birmingham at the University College Birmingham.

Over the years, a good majority of the students have been successful having gone on to different universities. The current elite boxers Macauley Owen and George Vernon, for instance, have just completed their Masters degrees in their chosen courses.

In the ring, UCB were very proud of Paige Goodyear who returned from the World Youths in Hungary with a bronze medal.

There have been many highlights for the DiSE students, including trips to Tenerife and St George’s Park, meeting Ricky Hatton, David Haye or even Molly Mae.

For myself, it would be seeing DiSE boxer Carl Fail winning the England Boxing Elite Championships in Liverpool (pictured below), along with the moment he ran into my office to inform me he had been selected to go onto the potential podium at GB.

Here’s to the next 10 years of DiSE and all the boxers who have yet to enjoy the journey.

Note: All pictures are pre COVID-19.

More about the Birmingham hub.

Tony Challinor (Joe Gallagher Academy)

We’ve had some fantastic times in the North West during the last 10 years, first at Bolton College and now at our current venue at the Joe Gallagher Academy in Manchester.

From a boxers’ point of view we’ve had some terrific talents come through including Bradley Rae and Bradley Strand who are both now unbeaten and professionals and Conner Tudsbury, who is now on the GB programme.

But it’s been equally good to see so many who have passed through our doors go on to make something of themselves… it’s makes you proud to bump into them or get a message from them and find out they have got a good job and are doing well. Some of them have told me it is the best thing they ever did.

I think the highlights have the trips we have been able to go on aboard thanks to DiSE where we’ve been to Tenerife – meeting athletes from other hubs for some brilliant sparring – and to Barcelona, thanks to Joe Gallagher from the academy.

When the students have worked so hard, it’s a terrific reward for them to go overseas, sometimes for the first time, and experience a different culture, sharing a room with someone… life skills that have come invaluable in the future.

I’ve really enjoyed building up a relationship with so many boxers and the progress they make in two years both in their sport and people is often huge and lovely to see.”

More about the Manchester hub.

More about DiSE

Check out what the programme is all about and the first and second year DiSE boxers for 2020-21.