Pat Benson Celebrates 50 year anniversary

October 11, 2018 | by Matt Halfpenny


The great and the good of Birmingham boxing turned out in force to celebrate the astonishing contribution to amateur boxing of Pat Benson Snr on Friday 5th October.

Pat Bensons Boxing Academy held a gala night of boxing to showcase their young athletes and also to pay tribute to the amazing 50 years of voluntary service to boxing of Club coach and leader Pat Benson Senior.

Originating from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, Pat won an Irish Junior title, before boxing for the Irish Army. He relocated to Coventry in 1954, prior to his arrival in Birmingham a short while after. As an already promising young boxer, Pat joined forces with Frank O’Sullivan to embark on his career upon England’s shores at Birmingham City ABC. Following 170 contests, the time came for Pat to hang up the gloves and embark on a coaching career that would see him reach the very pinnacle of boxing as a coach within the UK.

Over the years that followed, Small Heath as the club was then known, became one of the true power-houses of amateur boxing.  Through dedication and hard work, Pat forged a trail of success that very few could ever imagine or replicate. When the club lost their Fazeley Street premises in 2004 to a fire, Pat, at the age of 70, rebuilt the organisation when most others would have retired.

The achievements of the club with Pat at the helm are too many to create a full list here, but here are a few of the accolades;

His most notable successes are producing his 3 X ABA champions. They walked in the gyms as children and boxed for Pat their whole amateur careers. Mark Ramsey won ABA Lightweight title in 1989, followed by brother Paul, winning the same Lightweight prize a year later in 1990, before Matthew Macklin won the Light-Middleweight ABA Championship in 2000. Another pf his prized-assets Rowan Williams represented England in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, falling one place short of a Bronze medal. Frankie Gavin’s formative years were spent under Pat’s tutelage, winning a Schoolboy title and Junior Olympic title.

The impressive list of achievements continue to this very day with national champions and finalists still emerging form this tread-mill of talent based in Birmingham city centre. After the re-emergence of the club following the 2004 fire, Pat led the coaching team that produced 2014 Schoolboy and tri-nations Champion Louise Regan, 2016 Celric Box Cup Winner Cianan Folan, 2016 Junior Cadet and NABGC Champion Isral McKenzie.

Pat’s grandson, Paddy, who himself competed internationally, has taken up the reigns and alongside his Grandfather, they have created one of the leading organisations in the country for both competitive boxing and community led projects.  Some of the amazing community projects being delivered by the club are: Mind Fit, a metal health and wellbeing project, which works with young people and adults to re-engage them back into society, provide mentoring, housing support and a signposting service. The community work also covers victims of crime and a women’s recovery programme, working with victims of domestic abuse and serious crime. The club also engages young offenders and adults through a volunteering scheme and social enterprise project. The clubs youth development programme reaches into some of the most deprived neighbourhoods of Birmingham and provides youngsters with homework support, personal development and 1-2-1 mentoring as well as leadership qualifications.

To learn more about this outstanding example of boxing reaching out to the community please visit the website

England Boxing Club Support Officer Mick Maguire who was present on the night said  “all of us who have had Pat impact on our lives in such a positive way give thanks for the years of advice and support that he has provided. Pat is a genuine icon of boxing within Birmingham and nationally and I was delighted to see a packed house sharing in the wonderful journey that Pat has had over the years”