Boxers set to pack a punch at Leeds Sports Awards

Phil Sellers, left, and Josh Warrington are expected to be in the thick of the trophies at next year's Leeds Sports Awards.
Phil Sellers, left, and Josh Warrington are expected to be in the thick of the trophies at next year's Leeds Sports Awards.
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THRIVING Burmantofts Amateur Boxing Club and Commonwealth champion Josh Warrington are throwing their weight behind next year’s Leeds Sports Awards.

Warrington, who now operates from Batley’s Central Club, is in big demand after recently adding the Commonwealth featherweight championship to the English featherweight title he scooped earlier this year.

And these are also busy times – as ever – for Burmantofts. The gym, which once housed Warrington, will shortly be sending its latest batch of troops into Senior and Junior ABA battle with club manager Phil Sellers continuing to oversee the organisation.

It is an organisation that has also seen Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams through their ranks with current Senior ABA champion and member of the Team GB Olympic squad Jack Bateson now hoping to emulate Adams in Rio in 2016.

But club manager Sellers says the importance of an event such as the Leeds Sports Awards, and being recognised at local level, should never be forgotten. There are now only 18 days until Christmas but once the festive periods has subsidised and the new year is upon us, the 11th Leeds Sports Awards will be edging closer.

In a change to previous years, next year will see the event take place at New Dock Hall on Thursday, February 27.

And Sellers is keen for the city to support the event as much a possible with nominations for a stack of awards closing next Friday.

“To be recognised at the awards would be a great honour and these awards are very important for Leeds,” he said.

“All of the coaches and staff here have worked incredibly hard to create an environment young boxers can thrive in and we are pleased with the way things are going.”

Burmantofts will be eyeing both the club and coaching awards in Non Professional Club and Participation Coaching awards categories.

And boxing’s name in general is sure to be up in lights at next February’s awards.

After something of a recent lull, the city’s boxing scene is currently booming and Burmantofts has certainly had its say in the progress along with other thriving local Leeds clubs such as Kellys ABC, West Leeds ABC, Cleckheaton ABC and Sharky’s ABC – where the Adams success story began.

As far as Burmantofts is concerned, the club, based on Hudson Road, has been running since 1981 and currently has around 50 boxers on its books. Despite financial difficulties, the club has continued to thrive and their investment in local young talent is now paying off on the big stage.

Bateson believes local clubs such as Burmantofts richly deserve to be recognised.

“The club and its coaches have helped make me who I am today,” he said. “They believed in me and gave me the confidence to box at this level.”

But now the Leeds public has just six days left to nominate for next year’s awards whether it be for a team or individual award.

Michael Crawford, who is heading the PR for next year’s Awards enthused: “The awards are a fantastic opportunity for Leeds to showcase its world class sporting talent, as well as the outstanding volunteers, coaches and administrators.

“Nominations can be made in a wide range of categories.”

Anyone can nominate their Leeds sporting heroes via the online form found at www.leedssportsawards.co.uk/nominations.

Anybody wishing to attend visit www.leedssportsawards.co.uk or emailemma@bananakick.com for info.

Josh Warrington faces Dennis Ceylan during a press conference at Leeds City Museum.

Warrington’s looking beyond Ceylan to world title success