A spectacular show, in front of a sell-out audience at the Proact Stadium, bolstered the reputation of the Spire Boxing Academy in Chesterfield.
“It was the best show I’ve done for years,” beamed Robbie Sivyer, a former professional fighter who is the founder and head coach of Spire.
“The club turned a corner on the night. I can’t thank enough everyone who was involved.”
About 300 people packed into the venue for a bill of of 13 bouts, which included 11 featuring Spire fighters.
“We had six wins and five losses, four of which were split decisions,” added Sivyer. “Every single Spire boxer put it on the line and did everyone proud.”
The icing on the cake for the academy, which is based on Thompson Street at Whittington Moor, was victory for 21-year-old Jack Boyd. For he was crowned the new Derbyshire light-heavyweight champion after beating Billy Sharples, of Pinxton.
“it was humdinger of a fight that could have gone either way,” said Sivyer. “But when Jack came to us, he was just a short, fat lad, who I didn’t give much of a chance in boxing. But here is, a year later, winning a Derbyshire belt through sheer grit and determination.”
The confidence and self-belief injected into Boyd is so typical of the ethos of Spire which, according to Sivyer, is all about giving direction to youngsters who are not well-off or who do not necessarily fit in elsewhere.
These include members of the travelling community, two of whom, brother and sister Paddy and Shakira O’Doherty, were among Spire’s winners on the night.
Paddy, 17, described by Sivyer as “a fantastic prospect”, beat an opponent from Hull, while ten-year-old Shakira opened the night with victory over a rival from Birmingham.
Spire now has more than 100 members, and an example of the impact it can have on a youngster’s life was exemplified by another nof the night’s winners, 17-year-old Liam Whiteley.
“Liam wrote on Facebook that it was the best night of his life,” said Sivyer. “That sums it up really.”