Boxing: Historic club face eviction

Steel City youngster Dalton Smith, left, scooped gold in the Tri Nations tournament held in Warrington
Steel City youngster Dalton Smith, left, scooped gold in the Tri Nations tournament held in Warrington

Historic Sheffield Amateur Boxing Club St Vincent’s are on the brink of being booted out of their premises and will need to raise £50,000 in order to relocate.

One of the oldest clubs in Yorkshire, now ran by Paul Watson, will lose their building as the local diocese plan to redevelop the site in West Bar.

The council’s offer of the former Crookesmoor Community Centre as a new home is the most likely new destination for them but the cost for the required repairs will have to be footed by the club.

Ben Stewart, the club support officer for the Amateur Boxing Association of England, said: “St Vincent’s has a history of giving young people in Sheffield a safe and healthy alternative to drugs and gangs, and many of its boxers have gone on to great things.

“If the club is unable to continue this work, it will be a huge loss to the city of Sheffield.

“Help with securing a new building or money towards repairs at the building in Crookesmoor would secure the club’s future so that its volunteers can concentrate on continuing this work.”

Even Brendan Ingle learned his trade at the Solly Street based stable before going on to set up his own gym at Wincobank in the 1960s.

The club has been based above St Vincent’s Catholic Men’s Club since it opened in the 1950s and Watson has helped to recently lead a revival for the lads who always wear green and black shorts.

He has an exciting super-heavyweight prospect on his hands in Danny Williamson, who is ranked seventh in Britain despite still being a raw novice.

Watson has also forged links with the University of Sheffield over the last two years and two sell-out Varsity shows at the Octagon have displayed that student boxing could soon be a force to be reckoned with.

Craig Kennerdale, a student at Hallam University, won the crown of National University Champion for the club to become their first national champion in two decades whilst Graham Neill was a silver medallist.

“This is an exciting period in the history of St Vincent’s and we have a lot of talented kids within our gym but we need to find a new home so they don’t go to waste,” added Watson.

*Steel City’s Dalton Smith’s progress continued with another gold medal, this time in the Tri Nations held in Warrington.

First Smith, aged 16, who entered the tournament on the back of being crowned Junior ABA champion, beat Welsh champion Jordan Evans (Maesteg) on Friday by stoppage.

The gold was secured in Saturday’s final when Smith also stopped the Scottish champion Kieran McMaster (Northwest) in the final to claim his sixth national title.

McMaster had beaten Zac Chaima, who Smith defeated in the Junior ABAs to reach the final but he was no match for the rapidly developing Smith.

Always a skilled boxer, Smith’s power seems to be developing too as he now has a good run of stoppage wins on his record.

Smith, who is trained by father Grant, also competed in the Australian Golden Gloves and has recently also done a session with former European champion Ryan Rhodes.