This week in boxing started on Wednesday 4th July when I attended the funeral of one of Liverpool’s greatest amateur trainers, Mr. John Naylor.

How many champions he trained is legendary, however John Naylor also spent as much time with those who never made it to titles, that is the hallmark of a boxing man. John Naylor was a real boxing man not an ego seeker like some in our sport today.

John’s sons, George and John Jnr enjoyed success boxing in the amateur code and as pros. In fact John defeated Richie Wenton three times out of three as an amateur, no mean feat at all as Richie as a professional made history by becoming Britain’s first super bantam champ and winner of the Lonsdale belt outright.

I knew that two young brothers of the travelling community had joined a club I have a great respect for and I made enquiries of the club and the young boy’s family to see how they liked it and I made it my business to visit the club and I have never seen those two young brothers look so happy and contented, it was as if they’d always been there. Needless to say they are at the club I wanted them to go to in the first place.

On Friday it was a really full day in the office. A young boy who my great friend, that wonderfully talented ring artist from Liverpool Danny ‘Boy’ Peters had told me about and has asked me to help, met me and we went to that legendary gym at Collyhurst. This boy felt a change of gyms was needed to help him improve.

I had seen the boy box and was impressed so I was taken on board to sort a club out. I told him and his family that, in my opinion and what I knew of clubs being suitable for him were the two Manchester clubs, Collyhurst & Moston and Ancoats, as I knew the trainers and had been impressed with their knowledge and expertise, and on Merseyside the Golden Gloves and Birkenhead’s Venture.

The plan was as the boy lived between Liverpool and Manchester to visit the four clubs, however Collyhurst was the first port of call.

Once the boy visited the club he said ‘Tommy this is for me, it’s old school’. I smiled and said ‘That’s why you’re here and so are the other clubs’ he said ‘I want to box for Collyhurst’.

So on Friday we went and how proud I was with the boy, his work ethic was great and then Pat Barrett had him sparring and liked what he saw. So now Thomas McDonagh will have another in his growing club.

Returning home to Chester for a bite to eat and it was off to the Venture ABC at Birkenhead. This cub is really buzzing, I got there and the nippers nearly 40 of them, were going through their paces learning the skills, punching the bag and sparring. These youngsters were having a whale of a time.

A young kick boxer he’s 16 years of age and a friend of the family comes with me on a Friday. The reason he wanted to improve his punching. Well he has improved it at the Venture as a couple of weeks ago he took on men in a compettion and won it giving away alot of weight. All of the club were made up with him.

Next thing I knew who should walk through the door but Chloe Watson who is representing England in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas in the 51kg category. Chloe was all smiles and she’s always smiling, she worked out brilliantly on the pads and you could tell this girl really enjoys her training at her home town club.
Masher Doddas usual was laughing and joking and he has a bout coming up in August.

I wish to thank all who made this past week so wonderful. Steve and John Hyland for making sure I made it to Mr. John Naylor’s funeral and meeting Richie Wenton and so many old friends, and my two young travellers for finally finding a club that suits them. And to the young boxer who has found his club at Collyhurst it’s wonderful to help those boys live the dream. A big thanks to Pat Barrett, Paul Matthew Hall and all at Collyhurst Gym for making the boy so welcome.

Yes Sean Trodden, Danny Kelly and the coaches have and are doing a wonderful job at this club. The secret is, I believe, that the real novice and champions are all treated the same. Ray Boyer, what a club man, he’ll box anyone, was there going through his paces alongside a boy I think could win the ABA’s next season, Ben Burnham is his name.

The Fusion Nightclub sees a night of good young prospects

On Friday 30th June 2017 Black Flash Promotions put on a show at the Fusion Night Club in Fleet Street, Liverpool.
The fans were treated to 4 x 3 min round bouts and a 4 x 3 minutes exhibition.

Once again the Liverpool fans proved what wonderful sports men and women they were, welcomed the visiting boxers and gave a wonderful ovation at the end of their contest and not a boo or word of discontent was heard all night.

Opening the show was a 4 x 3 min contest between Liverpool’s Nick Ball and Latvia’s Dimitrij Gutmans, won by Ball by the score of 40 – 36, however, though Ball won every round Gutmans made him fight for every point.
I was very impressed by Nick Ball’s variety of punchesand clever feints. His footwork and lateral movement were of the best. No one could knock his work rate, this boy could have a good future in the sport.

Next up was a super welter bout between Liverpool’s Mick Phillips and Lithuania’s Andrey Cepur. Once again the score line did not show the commitment of the visitor with Phillips receiving a 40 – 36 verdict from the referee.
Mark Phillips is a clever swicth hitter and has some very slick moves.However Cepur stuck to his task and when the chance came proved he could bang a bit himself. Phillips though he won well, had to keep on his toes against a resolute opponent who more than earned his share of the plaudits.

Next up was an exhibition bout between Liverpool’s Byron Abiru and Aberystwyth’s James Davies.

Byron has not enjoyed the best of luck since he turned pro, however in this game you have to take the positives. Those are that he did four good rounds in front of a packed house plus it’s a character builder when things don’t go your way in this unforgiving sport it’s best if you have your bad luck early in your career than later as the luck will change.

The exhibition was a cracker with Abiru showing nice movement and getting his punches off well and Davies showing a good defence and snappy punches himself. Each round was closely contested and both boys received a well earned ovation at the at the end of a very entertaining four rounds.

The final bout of the night saw Liverpool’s Brandon Daord outpoint Sheffield’s Anwar Alfadi by the score of 40 – 36.
One of the hallmarks of a good prospect is how he handles a real journey man who can make anyone look bad.

Anwar Alfadi can do that alright and has a great amount of experience gained against the who’s who of British fly, bantam and super flyweights.

Brandon Daord certainly put on a real good show with a great variety of punches off his jab. His defensive moves were of the best. Though he won and won well Anwar really earns his money and though he took some hard shots gave a very good account of himself.

From what I saw on this promotion Nick Ball, Mark Phillips, Byron Abiru and Brandon Daord have alot to offer in their chosen sport and I hope it all comes to fruition.

Over the years I have seen good prospects ruined by listening to the wrong people. Nobody is perfect and sometimes the grass looks greener elsewhere and many have found to their cost it’s not the case.

I honestly believe by what I’ve seen of late these boys could not be in better hands.

Yes many a promising career is ruined by so called experts whispering in young boxers ears and on many occasions it means a trip down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Until next time

Good Luck, God Bless,

Tommy Dix.