Seconds out for new boxing recruits

December 2014

Niall Farrell, a member of UCB’s new Boxing Academy, has urged young fighters to follow his lead and compete at international level.

The promising 17-year-old, a former British and English champion, notched up the biggest win of his career to date when he took bronze at the Youth European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, in October.

Now Niall is looking to the future as he mixes his training with a two-year BTEC sport qualification at the University’s academy, based at Richmond House in Newhall Street, Birmingham.

“I want to be part of Team GB at the Olympics. I want to be on the podium. That is the dream,” says Niall, who boxes at the under 49kg category.

Birmingham born and bred, Niall has represented his country at schoolboy, juniors and youth level and has set his sights on getting to the top in the senior sport.

Niall, who went to St Francis of Assisi Catholic Technology College, joined the first intake of the academy in September after learning about it at a GB assessment camp. It is the only educational facility of its type in the West Midlands, and takes in recruits aged 16 to 18 under the supervision of head coach and assessor Ivan Cobb.

Recruits identified by the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) as having elite potential join the Advanced Level Apprenticeship run by the Achieving Academic and Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme. The AASE is credited with producing national and Olympic champions such as swimmer Rebecca Adlington and diver Tom Daley.

Niall said: “The course has opened new doors for me. It has everything you need as a young boxer. You have your own nutritionist. You train with the college. There is strength and conditioning. Everything you need to become a better boxer is here.”

Together with the other academy students, Niall takes part in gym work at Richmond House on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Training then switches to Small Heath Amateur Boxing Club on Mondays and Wednesdays.