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13 May 2006

William Burman and Col. GoldsackAlready punching above its weight, Welsh boxing is limbering up to floor the opposition with its first ever, national facility.

In the countdown to the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Welsh Amateur Boxing Association (WABA) and Sports Council for Wales jointly approached the Infantry Battle School at Brecon to use their excellent training facility as the new, knock-out training base.

This is yet another step forward in the development of boxing in Wales. Since the 2003 appointment of Tony Williams - WABA’s first-ever national coach - Welsh boxing has secured a number of successes under its belt.

The Army has agreed the periodic use of the newly revamped gym to WABA at a negotiated fee. In addition, the Sports Council for Wales has released National Lottery funding to provide a 24ft boxing ring as well as other essential equipment so that Welsh boxers can train in a first-class environment.

Tony Williams believes that the facility will make a substantial difference:

"Welsh boxing is really grateful for the support of the Sports Council and the Infantry Battle School, Brecon. This facility is the next step. Already, I’m surrounded by the country’s top coaches and we’re indebted to the Welsh gym coaches who train our boxers, free of charge, three or four times a week all across Wales.

"We now have a dedicated centre where our national and age-group squads can hone their skills. Boxers can come here to focus and train in what I believe is an excellent environment which has been needed for some time. It also enables younger boxers to rub shoulders with and learn from our top coaches and the senior boxers who will be going for gold next March at the Commonwealth Games."

Wales is stamping renewed force as a traditional boxing superpower with a recent run of form.

  • In March, two of its talents were crowned the best of British. Punching pair Kevin Evans and Darren Edwards both scooped Four Nations titles and are now looking forward to Commonwealth glory in 2006.
  • In April, the nation’s schoolboy boxers beat England, Ireland and Scotland at the Four Nations Championships in Dublin to win the Four Nations team trophy. Having won ten gold, four silver and six bronze medals, the squad of twenty returned home with Wales’ largest-ever medal haul – five times bigger than ever before - despite fielding a smaller squad than England or Ireland.
  • In April, Wales finished second at the Six Nations in Italy. Beaten by a 12-strong French team, the Welsh yet again proved their mettle, with a squad of five boxers each winning a medal - one gold, three silver and one bronze. They saw off Italy, Romania and Spain who all fielded larger teams.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Goldsack, Commanding Officer of the Infantry Battle School, Brecon explains:

"We’re delighted to allow the use of this facility. Boxing fosters self-discipline, teamwork and sportsmanship which are some of the qualities that we look for in young infanteers which is why we’re pleased to host this punching powerhouse."

And Graham Davies of Sports Council Wales is looking forward to continued success in the ring:

"The recent success is testament to the work of the governing body, our national coach and, of course, the dedication of the boxers and their trainers. I believe this facility will contribute to success long into the future. Our young boxers will have the opportunity to train alongside Wales’ best and have the potential to benefit and progress significantly."