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Darlaston ABC opens for the people

Wolverhampton | Sport | Published:

Darlaston has thrown open the doors to its only amateur boxing club with the head trainer vowing the community is more important than champions.

Darlaston has thrown open the doors to its only amateur boxing club with the head trainer vowing the community is more important than champions.

Head trainer Dennis Daley welcomed members and guests to Unit B on the Alma Industrial Estate as the home of Darlaston ABC last Friday night.

There's been no home for the sport since Daley moved to the town seven years ago but there has been a pro fighter from Darlaston, Stuart Elwell.

Elwell was Midlands champion in 2006, fought for a British title in 2009 and, as an amateur, won the junior ABAs in 1992 - boxing for Wednesbury ABC.

The former Royal Marine toured Iraq in between turning from amateur to pro and, when a prospect like that comes along, Daley wants to see them.

The 58-year-old - a housing officer for Birmingham City Council - left Wolverhampton ABC to start his own club and has coached for 10 years.

Daley takes his boxing very seriously but he insists that bringing the people of Darlaston together is what really matters to him.

He said: "From the people I have spoken to, they can't remember an amateur club in Darlaston, although there has been boxers from here.

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"My phone hasn't stopped. From the amount of interest I have received, if they all start coming down to the club I will need 10 trainers!

"I am going to have more than one champion out of my gym, if I have got anything to do with it, but the community is what matters.

"My boxing club is going to be a community gym, I don't care who you are when you walk through that door.

"Barriers have to got to be broken down, people in communities don't seem to know one another and it's a shame.

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"It's not only Darlaston, it's everywhere, I work in Birmingham and it seems to be the same there as well.

"Maybe this will help in giving people something to do and my ultimate aim is to have the club running day and night.

"That's the long-term plan, to make a real difference. I want our members to stay with me and consider me a friend."

Daley left Wolverhampton ABC on good terms and worked the corner at their club show at the Connaught Hotel last month.

Both him and club secretary John Thomas continue to have a rapport and Daley hopes the old guard can help the new.

He said: "Wolverhampton ABC - and 'Tomo' in particular - have been instrumental with advice in getting the club up and running.

"I am registered as an ABA coach but I need to go on a course in December to get ABA club status, so we need another umbrella.

"Until then, I hope that my boxers will be able fight under their banner so they will still be able to enter ABA competitions.

"This is how it should be, they help me and I will help them."

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