Winning medals and raising funds: The Edinburgh boxing club with no home

A nomadic Edinburgh boxing club returned from the Scotland Development Championships at Ravenscraig with a haul of five gold medals and three silvers from 10 participants, while their coach and founder continued plotting ways of trying to raise funds for much-needed equipment.

As a backdrop to the successes, Junior Burton continued training for three ultra marathons in successive days next month. He is a military veteran of 14 years’ service carried out while a member of the Leith Victoria Club. But when he returned home to Edinburgh from the Royal Regiment’s base in Aldershot, the former Scotland internationalist and combined services lightweight champion decided it was time to concentrate on coaching in order to put something back into the sport he had graced in the ring.

He explained: “It was proving too difficult to combine boxing with coaching and so, two years ago, I set up the Royal Amateur Boxing Club. Trouble was we had no premises, still don’t, and subsequent attempts to get a roof over our heads have been unsuccessful. But despite these shortcomings we have boxers of all ages travelling from as far afield as Ratho to train at facilities hired from the Holyrood Boxing Fitness Gym (Peffermill) as well as for outdoor sessions.”

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And this regime, in which Burton is assisted by experienced fellow coach Michael Wood, proved no obstacle to compiling a medal haul at Ravenscraig with top podium places for Zac Dillon (59kg school boy category), Lachlan Ross (54kg schoolboys), Sonny Hendry (63.5kg good youth), Josh Hoc (71kg gold youth) and Fatima Sadiq (senior female). Silver medals went to: George Vickers (48kg schoolboys), Joe Gregory (60kg youth) and Lucas Gibbons (seniors).

Pictured celebrating the Royal Amateur Boxing Club’s successes are, left to right: Mathew Keddie, Michael Wood, Josh Hoc, George Vickers, Lachlan Ross, Zak Dillon, Sonny Hendry, Lucas Gibbons, Junior Burton. Front: Lee Dobson and Fraser Fox.

Burton added: “It was a great achievement by all the boxers who ranged from having between zero and seven previous contests and who, until we find someone to rent us premises, are restricted to a couple of hours a week indoors.”

Among the winners, Lachlan Ross, 14, is being tipped for a particularly bright future. “Lachlan is now a two time schoolboy champion who could go places” said Burton. “As for outdoor training it is difficult at this time of the year and I have to remember that having served in the Falklands and Afghanistan I am probably more suited to the cold!”

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As for his endurance fund raiser, Burton says: “The challenge will take place in December and will consist of three ultra marathons split over three days. An ultra marathon is any race that is longer than a traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles and I am aiming to hit 33.3 miles each day. This will be broken down into a row, ski and run covering the distance and will be a test of my physical and mental resilience.

“My initial funding target will be to cover the equipment for the club and if we exceed this, I plan to donate the rest of the funding to a local children’s charity in time to help with Christmas gifts.”

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Zac Dillon won the 59kg school boy category
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Sonny Hendry won the 63.5kg good youth category.
Lucas Gibbons won silver in the the seniors category.
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George Vickers won silver in the 48kg schoolboys category.