Steve Woodvine has been providing opportunities for boxers for a number of years – and now he’ll be able to take on even more boxing talent.
Woodvine is the head coach and club secretary at Newcastle’s Orme Boxing Club and has helped top talent from across the Stoke-on-Trent area on their boxing journeys.
Pro fighters Nathan Heaney, above – who has just claimed the IBO Continental title – Luke Caci, Cole Johnson and Atal Khan are among the members who are put through their paces by Woodvine.
His workload is already heavy enough, training four or five times a week, as well as organising amateur fight shows.
But now there’s the scope for even more boxers from the area to benefit from Woodvine’s expertise after 2019 saw an extension to their headquarters.
Orme unveiled a new ring, punch bags and scope to double the capacity following a £170,000 extension.
The club had a membership of about 30 boxers – but demand meant coaches were forced to turn away a number of people who had asked to join.
The extension – which includes a new boxing ring, punch bags, boxing kits and strength and fitness training equipment – now allows the numbers to swell in the coming months and years.
Woodvine, speaking just after work had been completed, said: “It will allow us to double our capacity.
“We are a registered charity and having this extension will mean we can take on more members. It is very much needed. We were turning people away because we just didn’t have the room.
“Our better boxers need to be fully committed to the lifestyle, we want them to get the very best out of their ability. But others just enjoy the training. We give everyone a chance.
“But there’s no doubt that boxing can transform people’s lives. There are lots of advantages to it, not just fitness and discipline, it’s the lifestyle.”
The extension came about thanks to a £150,000 investment from Sport England, and a £20,000 donation from Red Industries.
In addition the club, which caters for boxers of all ages and abilities, was been granted £3,000 of lottery cash.
The club was supported in applying for grants by Claire John of the Staffordshire Council of Voluntary Youth Services (SCVYS).
Woodvine, who has coached at the club for 16 years, said: “Without Claire, it wouldn’t have been possible. She has been absolutely fantastic, always helping out with the applications.
“We had to do a lot of work to make the club a registered charity and to apply for planning permission. It took about two and a half years before we even started the work.
“We’re just all so pleased. It’s a massive change and amazing to finally get it over the line.”
Woodvine has now been nominated in the Sport in the Community category at the Sentinel/City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Personality of the Year Awards by Brian Hammond.
“As well as the four pros, there are many young people who have profited from Steve’s expert guidance,” said Hammond. “That’s not only in boxing, but in discipline and respect.
“It seems that every young person who has been to the club comes out a better individual.
“I’m nominating Steve because he has turned my son’s life around, from may be going off the rails to being a well balanced and respectful lad.
“In my opinion, and people I speak to, Steve thoroughly deserves recognition.”