An Olympic champion has helped to inspire one big-hitting Wakefield boxer in his quest to have a bright future in the ring.
Sam Clark, of White Rose Boxing Club, met Olympic super-heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at a special ceremony to mark his achievement of winning the ABA Schools Boxing Championships.
The 15-year-old, who attends Wakefield City Academy in Eastmoor, won the national title in his age group and weight category last month.
And he travelled to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, the base of the GB Boxing squad, to be presented with a pair of ‘Golden Gloves’ to mark his achievement.
Clark, who beat Raja Khan in 42kg weight division final, also took part in a question and answer session with Olympic star Joshua, as well as world championship bronze medallist and London Olympian Natasha Jones.
The Wakefield boxer joined more than 50 of England’s most talented young boxers to watch the GB squad in training and also met coaches from the Olympic programme.
“It was an amazing experience to see the Olympic boxing gym, meet the Great Britain boxers and learn about their training programme,” said Clark.
“The facilities are fantastic and the whole experience has really inspired me to train even harder and do everything I can to improve and see if I can make it into the squad one day.”
Olympic champion Joshua said: “It is great to have the opportunity to meet with the next generation of young boxers and be able to provide them with help and advice.
“I hope that one day, some of the young boys and girls that I met will go on to be part of the GB Boxing squad and win a medal at the Olympic Games.”
Richard Caborn, chairman of the ABAE said: “English boxers have been very successful in recent years, winning medals at World Championships and Olympic Games.
“This is all part of the ABAE’s on-going activities to ensure we maintain that talent pipeline and have the pathways in-place to enable our best young boxers to progress through the England system and onto the GB Boxing programme.”
Clark’s ABA Schools Championships success means he now goes on to compete in the Championship trail in June, with a venue to be confirmed.
As English champion, he will go glove-to-glove with the champions of Ireland, Scotland and Wales over the weekend of June 15-16.
Victory there would open more doors for the Wakefield ace to compete in international bouts and continue his growing reputation in the sport.
The boxing season is in full swing and White Rose boxer Mateen Bhatti, 16, enjoyed victory over Callum Divine, from St Paul’s club, in Hull last Friday.
Stablemate Harem Ali was not so fortunate, however, when he suffered a controversial defeat against Max Willis, also of the home Hull club.
Ali is already targeting the chance for revenge in a return bout in Knottingley.
Tonight, Friday, two more White Rose boxers will be in action in Halifax.
Bhatti will be out for another victory when he faces Bradley Jennings in the 58kg weight category.
Adam Mirga is also in action on the same show and he faces home boxer Miroslav Tomsa.
For more on White Rose Boxing Club contact John Hall on 07774 603944.