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Wolverhampton Boxing Club get Carter

Richie Carter has joined forces with Wolverhampton Boxing Club in a move that will double the fight factory's numbers going forward.

Wolverhampton Boxing Club get Carter

He's returning to his roots at their Willenhall Road site after starring at national level himself as an unpaid fighter when he was a child, writes Craig Birch.

Hailing from nearby East Park, Carter represented the now-defunct Bilston outfit that his late father Alan ran and claimed a full national title in the 1987 junior ABA competition.

He then boxed for England before turning pro at middleweight, where he featured another 12 times with 10 wins, one draw and one loss before hanging up his gloves in 1992.

He returned to the sport 20 years later to form his own club, Richie Carter's Golden Gloves, which was based in Essington before moving over to Wolverhampton.

A fire that gutted the Bushbury Weights and Fitness Centre where they were tenants in May left him and his members homeless.

The chance to amalgamate with the oldest boxing club in the city - who celebrated their 80th birthday the same month - appeared to be written in the stars.

Now 45, Carter is hoping to bring further impetus to a new-look regime, with his fighters set to double the carded combatants ahead of the new season.

The coaching staff will also multiply in spades, with Wolverhampton BC looking to get busy again after a period of mourning.

Former president, secretary and treasurer John Thomas passed away last September. The 77-year-old had served for 40 years and was regarded as their front of house.

His memory lives on, as does the heritage of the club. They are one of only two organisations permitted to use the City of Wolverhampton crest - a request granted in 1937 - next to Wolves.

Carter, who has become a successful businessman and married father-of-two since calling time on fighting, feels proud to be given the opportunity to help lead them into the future.

He said: "To be honest, I felt like jacking it all in when our gym burned down. My lads have had to train all over the shop.

"Me and the trustees at Wolverhampton got in touch through mutual friends, we had a meeting and it's all gone on from there.

"This was an easy choice and something to get excited about. It's a challenge for me. This is one of the oldest boxing establishments going.

"I want to do them justice and that means getting champions out of here in the near future. The proof will be in the pudding.

"I know myself how hard is to run a boxing club now and many hands make light work. At points, I never had the time to coach.

"I haven't yet proved how good I can be. I've been to the top and I wanted to take others there. Now I can concentrate on getting these lads and this club back to where it belongs.

"I'm Wolverhampton through and through, everyone knows me around here and I hope I'll get a good response from the local people.

"I loved 'Tommo,' as we all did, I remember even when I was a pro he used to help me out and give me the keys to the gym, so I could train during the day. God rest his soul.

"Myself, the people who are already there and those who are coming with me all bring something to the table. I expect an extra 10 per cent from everyone now."

Carter will transfer his 10 carded fighters over to his new allegiance, with plans to add more of his prospects as they are cleared in the autumn.

Wolverhampton are looking to add a double-figure number themselves, after Fernando Consiglio became their first member to box a competitive bout for 18 months earlier this year.

One of Carter's right-hand men, Gary Sands, is joining him with his younger brother David expected to help out. Tony Evans and Wayne Clenton will do likewise, after taking a course.

Dennis Stephenson, Graham McFayden, George Murrin and Marcus Ashman - who doubles up as matchmaker - are already on the coaching staff, with Lee Coldicott also awaiting clearance.

Gary Bate and Nick Griffiths are fully qualified but have been serving in behind-the-scenes roles, as temporary secretary and treasurer respectively, after George Langford left through ill-health.

Carter will get down to business on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The juniors are put through their paces from 6pm to 7pm, before the seniors train until 8.30pm.

Ashman runs the same set-up on Tuesdays and Thursdays, around sparring on Wednesday evenings with other clubs.

Advanced classes are held on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings for the carded fighters. All pay just £3 each time.

They train in an Olympic-sized ring once used by multi-world champion Amir Khan, who donated it to the club after training through those ropes for the 2004 Games in Athens.

Bate said: "This has been on the cards for a while and everybody here is ready to rumble now. It's time to really get down to work.

"Richie can only be a massive asset to this club. He's been there and done it himself and he's still got that enthusiasm. I welcome him.

"All any of us want to see the next champion come out of here. We can provide a platform here, as the facilities are second-to-none. We've got every tool they need.

"It's not been easy keeping the club going, but we've made progress and now we want to be successful again. No one is here for the limelight, it's about pulling together."

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