Lions ABC roars back for boxing

For the last 13 years, Lions ABC in Dudley has helped amateur boxing in the Black Country roar back.

Lions ABC roars back for boxing

For the last 13 years, Lions ABC in Dudley has helped amateur boxing in the Black Country roar back.

Back in 1998, Dudley Council banned the sport because of health fears and Bob Dillon, at the time a coach with Warley ABC, joined forces with Dave Tyler, a Councillor for Kingswinford and Wall Heath, to overturn the decision.

Dillion recalls: "We got lots of literature together showing the benefits of amateur boxing and that other sports were far more dangerous.

"The councillors looked at the facts we gave them and lifted the ban."

Fast forward to today and the club that Dillon formed at a gym on Bull Street in Brierley Hill has been developed into a boxing academy, complete with class rooms for students to work in.

The gym is open throughout the day for more than 500 members and runs weight lifting, boxercise and many other classes.

The work of the club's coaches has also been recognised.

Dillon, who additionally works with the Great Britain and England boxing teams, has twice been named coach of the year by the Borough of Dudley while his son, Kevin, has scooped the most improved coach award.

Having worked with the Great Britain team in the countdown to the Olympic Games in 2008, Dillon Senior has a wealth of top-class experience.

It was him who helped mastermind super heavyweight bronze medallist David Price's win over red-hot favourite Islam Timurziev in Beijing and he is now planning for London 2012.

Dillon heads to China later this month to help the women's team prepare for their next Olympic qualifier and, closer to home, Lions will stage a club show at Wilson Hall in Cradley on Thursday October 6.

Ricky Summers last season reached the semi-finals of the ABA championships at light heavyweight – he was beaten by a point in the last four – and Dillon is looking to take the title next time around.

He said: "For me, Ricky is the best 81kg lad out there. He's got the height, the range, the movement and that bit of extra grit you need.

"Ricky is going to give it everything he's got to win the ABAs this season."

Connor Jones has already won national honours, claiming the Schoolboys and Three Nations titles at 50kgs, and is set to box Eli Saunders, of Sporting Ring ABC in a clash of champions in Camberley on September 17.

Dillon also hopes to find a match for Summers on the show.

The club will then have two boxers entered in the ABA Novice championships that start in October.

Andy Robinson has been a semi finalist at 75kgs for the last two seasons and at light welterweight, Dillon is backing Christian Watkins to have a good run in the championship.

By Matt Bozeat

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