A BOXING coach from Abingdon is setting up a youth club to encourage children to take up the sport.

James Randall Guntert will run boxing sessions for boys and girls aged nine to 16 at Fitzharrys School in Northcourt Road from September.

He said that he decided to set up the Vale of the White Horse School of Boxing to give children the chance to try out the sport and improve their self-confidence and discipline.

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He said: “There is something about boxing that is different from every other sport and we think it will bring great benefits to the kids.

“We’ve got a huge group of people involved and many former professional boxers and five fitness instructors, and the schools in the area have been very supportive.

“We are still setting things up, but everything is moving quite quickly. We want to promote boxing on the school curriculum and instil core values as part of youth development.

“We think it will be very good for the community and for the children, as it will help build their self confidence and all the core values that come with boxing, including respect, discipline and setting your goals to reach them.

“Those are transferable skills that every young adult needs and boxing teaches you how to work on your own and as part of a team.

“There is a misconception around boxing – it’s not just a case of throwing punches and it’s not a case of forcing the children to get on the boxing ring, we would never do that if they don’t want to.

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“The club will be about practicing the sport as well as those important core values which help with self-esteem and dedication.

“We will also have club wellbeing support and we think we have the right people involved.

“It’s a work in progress but we are on track and a lot of the schools in the area are interested in having us run the club within their premises.”

The team of coaches includes former London and southern area welterweight champion Peter Neal and Mr Randall Guntert’s brother Jake, a former county and district champion and national championship finalist.

He said: “Children of that age are still developing mentally and physically and we are going to use boxing to develop those traits, building self-confidence, self-reliance and self-esteem.”

Mr Randall Guntert is also looking for sponsors to help fund the sessions. For more information, contact him on vale.schoolofboxing@gmail.com