Boys box clever: Chichester club has best season in 97 years

Connor McCormack with Chi coaches at the national championships
Connor McCormack with Chi coaches at the national championships

Chichester Boys’ Club are celebrating the best boxing season in their 97-year history.

It is the second season the ‘Partridge brothers’ Jarred and Jack have been at the helm, and they have brought back the golden years of boxing in Chichester. During the 1950s and 60s the club won many trophies.

Both brothers were excellent boxers in their time and have turned their expertise very successfully to coaching.

Jack Hood, who coached at the club for 50 years, said: “It was a real pleasure to see so many young people taking part in the sport, which will help them throughout their life.”

Boxing at the club was in the doldrums before Jack and Jarred arrived but it has taken them just two seasons to get to an excellent standard and the club was voted the best boxing club (out of 25) by Sussex ABA.

They have concentrated on the boxers and produced three other qualified coaches and it is a very tight-knit coaching team.

So far this year the club’s boxers boast of six Sussex champions; five Southern county champions; two national development quarter-finalists; a national semi-finalist and a national cchoolboy Cchampion.

Connor McCormack won the national championship at his weight in Crawley and travelled to Sheffield to join the England boxing camp in preparation for the Tri-Nation boxing competition.

Jack Partridge said: “The secret of our success this year has been the fitness regime, with every boxer putting in 100 per cent and the excellent sparring sessions with other clubs and he would like to thank those clubs for their support.”

The other element that has helped the club is the purchase of a new nine-seater minibus to transport the boxers all over the south coast to shows, tournaments, and sparring sessions.

It means the boxers can travel in comfort and build up club spirit. A big thank you goes to local organisations and trusts who have made the purchase of the minibus possible. When not used by the boxers, it is used by community groups to transport their clients to events.

There have been many highlights this year, but the one most people will remember is watching 13-year-old McCormack winning the National Schoolboy Championships at Crawley.

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The experience was made better by the fact he is a homegrown boxer, so great credit to the coaches. Ashley Whiting, one of the coaches, said: “It was obvious when Connor joined the club he looked special from the start. He was strong, determined and ready to learn, which is an excellent combination of skills for a young boxer”.

He joined the Chichester club just under a year ago and had not put a pair of gloves on before then. Jarred Partridge said: “Connor is not our most talented boxer but can the boy fight! His strength, power and heart is what made him number one in England.”

The championships were held over two days at the K2 Leisure Centre. In the semi-final McCormack was up against Arthur Mattlock, from Newham Boys Club, London.

McCormack battled brilliantly and kept his shape to win a split decision but he knew he had been in a fight.

In the final, McCormack was up against Dylan Wallis from Bideford Boxing Club. Wallis had a reputation for being a big hitter and had stopped his semi-final opponent in the first round.

The first round was even but McCormack caught Wallis with some excellent shots in the second.

Halfway through the round Wallis was caught with an excellent right cross by McCormack which stopped him in his tracks and the referee gave him a mandatory eight count. This didn’t stop Wallis pushing forward but McCormack won the round easily.

The ferocity didn’t ease up in the third, but McCormack was strong and determined.

McCormack won on a split decision. He now goes on to box for England.