MAC303 University Work: UK Boxing figures on the rise once again

The number of people participating in Boxing each week in the UK has risen once again, according to an annual Sport England survey.

The survey shows that more people than ever are participating in some sort of boxing fitness each week throughout UK, with the total reaching over 200,000 for the third time in as many years.

Sport England also revealed that there has been an increase of just under 30,000 more people engaging in boxing in the past six months.

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The increase has been largely driven by the 16-25-year-old age range, which has risen to 79,100 people participating in boxing throughout the year – massively exceeding the target set by Sport England.

The rise in female participation is another reason for the significant increase with 11,700 more women participating in boxing in the UK each year taking the total to 35,000.

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Steve Mackey, Head Trainer at Hebburn Boxing and Fitness Gym puts a lot of the rise down to more women being welcomed in boxing gyms.

“In terms of participation, the doors aren’t closed now to women as they were traditionally before, and boxing did drop off for a long time.”

Mackay also feels the success British fighters such as Anthony Joshua and Sunderland-born Josh Kelly have had in the professional game has helped get more people involved with the sport.

“We’ve now got World Champions and more TV coverage,” said Mackay

“There’s more clubs opening up now and there are more people getting involved in boxing in general.”

Mackay is keen for the figures to continue rising and urges anyone who may be looking to get into the sport to go along to a local boxing gym.

“The hardest thing about boxing is going to the gym in the first place as it can be quite intimidating.

“I would say if you have got some friends who are interested [in getting involved in boxing] then come along with your friends.”

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Liverpool Echo – Work Placement

In April 2018 I spent a week-long work placement on the sports desk at the Liverpool Echo.

You can view all of my articles I did during my time at the Liverpool Echo by clicking this link: https://asmithsj.wordpress.com/liverpool-echo/

Or, to view the videos I produced, click this link: https://asmithsj.wordpress.com/liverpool-echo-3/

Liv Echo – “I can’t believe we’re going to win the league in a collared kit” – Liverpool fans react to 2018/19 kit launch

Liverpool have released their new home kit for the 2018/19 season – and it’s dividing opinion somewhat amongst supporters.

Next season’s strip retains the same colour and retro styling that has made this term’s option so popular with Reds fans, but has the addition of a collar.

The shirt also features ‘linear jacquard stripes’ on the front which are ‘inspired by the landmark architecture of the redeveloped Main Stand’.

And, whilst there are many who are already loving how the new kit looks, there are some Liverpool supporters who aren’t so excited by it.

A small section of the reacting fanbase have highlighted the collar as a possible issue – but many believe that is a side-note to what is a good-looking kit.

The kit can be pre-ordered now for worldwide delivery on Friday, May 11 when it will be available to buy in-store and online.

Fans pre-ordering an adult shirt, junior shirt, mini kit or baby kit will receive a £10 LFC retail voucher to spend between May 11 and June 30.

Anyone purchasing the kit from LFC stores or the club site will receive a special certificate of authenticity.

For more information visit the Liverpool website.

My BBC Newcastle Videos

In April 2017 I was approached by BBC Newcastle who asked if I would like to cover the post-match press conferences at Newcastle United for their daily news programme Look North.

I covered Rafael Benitez’s press conferences at St James’ Park for the remainder of Newcastle’s 2016/17 Championship winning season.

I am currently still covering press conferences for the BBC, however I now cover Sunderland AFC’s home games at the Stadium of Light.

Below are some of the videos I have done so far this season.

Sunderland Echo Piece: Lee Clark provides key insight into Chris Coleman’s Sunderland methods and reveals how he can emulate Peter Reid

Link: https://www.sunderlandecho.com/sport/football/sunderland-afc/lee-clark-provides-key-insight-into-chris-coleman-s-sunderland-methods-and-reveals-how-he-can-emulate-peter-reid-1-8900209

Lee Clark believes “top class” Chris Coleman could emulate another of his old managers – Peter Reid – at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland are entrenched in relegation trouble ahead of Coleman’s fourth game in charge of Sunderland at Wolves today.

The Black Cats are two points from safety and 21 from the last play-off spot but Clark, who Coleman played with and managed at Fulham, insists the type of revival he experienced under Reid in 1997-98, which ended with a Wembley play-off final, is not beyond the new boss.

And Clark is convinced Sunderland fans will forge as strong a bond with Coleman as they did with the fiery Reid.

“He is very similar to Peter in many aspects of his management,” said Clark, who captained Fulham under Coleman between 2003 and 2005.

“He gets the best out of the players; he gets the group together and brings the whole club together, so I think it is a terrific appointment.

“They both know when it is time to encourage, when to show their displeasure – they can do it on an individual basis, they can do it on a group basis.”

While acknowledging survival is the priority, Clark suspects Coleman may be looking for more despite having less time to make up more ground than Reid did when he steered his side from 14th in the old Division One in October ’97 to a third-place finish.

Clark added: “The short-term goal for Chris and his players will be to put a string of good results together to get them out of the predicament they are currently in.

“If they start pulling away they will get away from some of the negativity and they can look upwards from there. If early in the New Year they have achieved that, then who knows?

“There have been teams in similar positions to Sunderland in the past who have gone on to make the top six and then been successful in the play-offs. I’m not saying that will happen, but it has been done.

“The first job, though, is to get out of the position they are currently in and make sure that once Chris has had time to recruit his own players and make the necessary changes, the club are at least still in the Championship.”

Crucially, Clark believes Coleman also has a perfect blend of relative youth and old-school managerial nous to handle the huge task of resurrecting Sunderland’s fortunes on a shoestring budget.

“Wherever he has been, he seems to galvanise,” added Clark.

“Fans start to see a bit of a structure; they see light at the end of the tunnel and start really getting behind the team.

“He is very, very experienced. Even though he is still quite young in management terms he has managed international teams, he has managed abroad, he has managed in the Premier League and Championship.

“He has got a lot of experience. But having spoken to him, his enthusiasm for the job is the thing that stands out above all else.”

Shields Gazette Piece: Sunderland fans take to Twitter to admit Ameobi fears

Link: https://www.shieldsgazette.com/sport/football/sunderland-afc/sunderland-fans-take-to-twitter-to-admit-fright-night-ameobi-fears-1-8833110

On fright night, could Sunderland once again be haunted by an Ameobi?

It is seven years to the day that Sunderland were badly beaten at St James’s Park with Shola Ameobi finding the net twice to further cement his “Mackem Slayer” nickname.

Newcastle’s stalwart striker scored seven times in 16 games against the Black Cats, including a last-gasp equaliser on Tyneside in 2012.

Tonight the Black Cats face a different challenge as they host an improving Bolton Wanderers in what many fans are already calling a relegation six-pointer.

And they face a different Ameobi. Shola’s younger brother, Sammy, has been seen as key to Bolton’s upturn in form.

The Trotters’ manager Phil Parkinson had said he was hopeful Ameobi would “breathe fresh life” into his side once back from injury last month, and with two goals in his last three five appearances, the winger has done just that.

Ameobi’s awkward, gangly style cutting in from the right wing, and powerful left foot, would be a source of concern to Simon Grayson anyway.

But throw in his family name, and it’s understandable that Sunderland fans have taken to Twitter to voice their fears ahead of tonight. Here’s a selection:

@KerrieWilkinson: Odds on Sammy Ameobi ending Bolton’s run of 33 Championship away games without a win..? #safc

@CallumBradfield: 87. Goal. Ameobi punishes a defensive mistake to put Bolton ahead. 0-1. Might as well put the tweet out already. #SAFC

GWoods94: Can’t wait for tonight. Sitting in a half empty SOL watching Sammy Ameobi score a 89th minute winner to send us bottom of the league. #SAFC

@JacobKirkbride: Sammy Ameobi to net 90th minute winner against us tonight it’s written in the script #safc

@LdoubleE_87: Ameobi & Alnwick on Tuesday night….yina whats coming! #SAFC

@GazWilko86: Can’t wait to see Will Buckley turn Billy Jones inside out & plant 1 right on Sammy Ameobi’s heed for him to complete his hattrick tonight.

Sunderland Echo Piece: Sunderland boxing legend Billy Hardy on Josh Kelly’s world champion chances

Wearside boxing legend Billy Hardy is confident Sunderland’s Josh “Pretty Boy” Kelly will be a world champion.

Former British bantamweight champion and British, Commonwealth and European featherweight champion Hardy keeps a close eye on several potential successors to his crown of Sunderland’s finest, and believes 2016 Olympics veteran Kelly is one who could go the distance.

“Josh Kelly is one of my favourites,” said Hardy.

“I’ve spoken to Josh many a time. He’s the type of fighter that sparkles and glitters but does the job for you.”

Kelly only turned professional in February, having signed a promotional contract with Matchroom Boxing following his Rio Olympics adventure.

Kelly – who was only defeated by eventual gold medalist Daniyar Yelleussinov in the last 16 – faces José Luis Zúñiga in Belfast tomorrow, and Hardy has seen enough to tip 23-year-old for the very top.

“The British title? He will go the whole hog, and I hope he does fight for it, but I think he’s beyond that,” Hardy added.

“I think they’ll project him further than the British title.

“But for now, for me, if you’re champion of your own country and you get that Lonsdale Belt, it’s better than any other belt that’s out there at the moment.”

Speaking of Lonsdale Belts, Hardy sees Tommy Ward, who is set to defend his British super-bantamweight title for the first time on November 11 in Newcastle, wearing one soon.

“I personally think he’ll win the Lonsdale Belt outright and I really hope he does,” said Hardy.

And any doubts West Rainton’s Ward may have had about the value of establishing domestic dominance should have been allayed in a conversation he had with Hardy just last week.

“I think the way boxing is now is that fighters push for world title fights straight away, but that can be a problem,” said Hardy.

“Yes, we did have a spurt of a lot of world champions but that seems to have gone now.

“I think it’s back to basics for a lot of boxers, but I do also think Tommy can go all the way.”

Also fighting at the Metro Radio Arena on November 11 is Glenn Foot, who faces 12-0 Middlesbrough man Josh Leather for the IBF European light-welterweight title in what could be a make or break bout.

Despite Foot being cast as the underdog by bookmakers, Hardy is confident the 29-year-old has what it takes to secure the belt and take his record to 22-2.

“I think Glenn will grasp this title,” declared Hardy.

“If he gets a contract with Frank Warren after that, then I think it would be ideal for him, and I think he could probably push him straight in towards either an eliminator for the world title or a world title fight.

“I think Glenn will win on points definitely; he’s definitely a winner of this title.”

Read more at: https://www.sunderlandecho.com/sport/boxing/sunderland-boxing-legend-billy-hardy-on-josh-kelly-s-world-champion-chances-1-8813781

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