Idris Elba enlists help from Wakefield boxing coach Bower in new BBC series Fight School

Boxing coach Rachel Bower plays a starring role alongside a world-renowned actor in the new BBC series, Idris Elba's Fight School, which starts on Sunday.

By Mark Berry
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 3:38 pm
Idris Elba will star in the new series on BBC Two, which starts on Sunday. Picture: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The series follows a group of eight young adults who undertake an intensive course of boxing training that enables them to acquire new life skills and, ultimately, change their lives.

Working with some of the country’s leading coaches, they’ll train twice a day, six days a week, while having access to a life coach and inspirational mentors. Elba's ultimate goal is for them to compete in an official amateur fight at one of the world’s most iconic boxing venues, in just five months’ time.

Helping the Fight School's recruits along the way is Bower, 39, originally from Walton and now Head of Amateur Boxing at Rathbone and Hawley ABC, an England Talent Pathway Coach and a Met Police Detective Sergeant.

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Rachel Bower, right, in action during a coaching session at White Rose Boxing Club, in Wakefield

Growing-up in Yorkshire, she represented Wakefield in cross country studied at New College Pontefract before attending Bournemouth University and moving to the capital.

As part of the Met Police team, Bower won the Elite National Championships, and added medals in two World Police and Fire Games to her titles.

She has led many boxing programmes alongside her role for the Met Police, including initiatives with the Prince’s Trust. She devotes her time away from the force coaching boxers, is a mentor for the England Boxing Female Coach Development Programme and an England Boxing Coaching subcommittee member.

Bower, who still provides coaching sessions at Wakefield's White Rose Boxing Club, hopes that the programme will help to inspire others to take up new challenges in life. She said: "Whatever it may be, whether you think you can or you can't do it, you are probably right!

"Get your mindset right and remove your excuses then give it everything you've got. You'll see throughout the programme that those who do this get the most out of it."

Idris Elba's Fight School's coaching team also features Greg Wright, Head Coach at Rathbone and Camden Boxing Club, where he works with professional boxing coach, Adam Booth’s stable of boxers.

Elba revealed his inspiration for making the programme, saying: "When I was young I joined a boxing club, and my trainer Joe took me under his wing. It was a real turning point in my life, teaching me discipline and control moving forward.

"During my own experience of fighting there was a level of peace I was able to achieve. Boxing requires you to switch off all the noise and focus on the moment, a skill that I believe all people need, especially younger people who need direction.

"Looking back at my own experiences, I’m reminded of how powerful boxing can be on disadvantaged young people, giving them a sense of purpose. This was the inspiration behind Fight School."

Idris Elba's Fight School starts at 9pm on Sunday, April 17 on BBC Two. It is also available on iPlayer