Liam Walsh backs call to keep Aylsham boxing club in business

One of Norfolk's top fighters has urged volunteers to come forward and rescue from closure the boxing club which helped set him on the road to glory.

Liam Walsh, who holds the Commonwealth super-featherweight and WBO European lightweight titles, began boxing at Aylsham Youth Amateur Boxing Club at the tender age of 11.

He spent three or four years at the club, training twice a week, and fought his first amateur bout for Aylsham when he was 12 years old.

The club played a crucial part in Liam's young boxing life and put him on the path to stardom.

Liam was due to have fought for a world lightweight title against Scotland's Ricky Burns earlier this month, but injuries sustained in a car crash prevented him from taking to the ring.

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The club, which has been involved with other well-known boxers including Liam's brothers Ryan and Michael, Herbie Hide and Jackson Williams, could be forced to lock its Cawston Road doors permanently because of a lack of volunteers.

The club attracts plenty of young people and is in a healthy financial state, but doesn't have enough adults to operate in the long term.

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'It's a brilliant club, it served me well when I was young and it's done the same for lots of kids,' said Liam, who lives with his family in Cromer.

'We were taught well at Aylsham – it was really important early grounding with a very good atmosphere and I loved going there.

'Boxing gives young people lots of confidence, not arrogance, but confidence. And it's important for fitness, health, respect and discipline.'

Coach Justin Cubitt added: 'We are at a critical point, in every other way it is a very successful club.

'The problem is simply down to the low number of people prepared to give their time and help run the club.

'It's not only people who know about boxing we need, it is anyone who feels they can help these young people.'

The club, which has been running since 1985, operates on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

A junior session runs from 6pm to 7pm for eight to 14 year olds. A senior session follows for over 14s from 7pm to 8.30pm.

'It's not a huge amount of time and volunteers will be supported in whatever way they need to be,' added Cubitt.

'You only need to be enthusiastic and have a CRB check – that's all.

'If people want to go on to coach, the club will cover the costs of training for qualifications.'

To contact Justin call 07786 837224.

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