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Eleven Lochaber Phoenix boxers met up with counterparts from Inverness, Nairn and Aberdeen at the weekend to hone their skills in preparation for their upcoming Home Show in Caol Community Centre on November 6.
Already a complete sell-out, five of the 11 local boxers will be making their debut in the ring, adding even more to the excitement and perhaps to the nerves of performing in front of a home crowd including friends and family.
All of the newcomers have been training with the club for several years, working on building fitness and stamina, hand and eye co-ordination, footwork and boxing moves, before deciding if they wanted to progress to sparring in the ring.
During the Covid lockdown, many aspects of training were carried out online with coaches giving advice and direction, although this was necessarily limited with no actual one-to-one physical contact allowed.
In the ‘normal’ course of club activities, all of the boxers would have had the opportunity to visit other clubs for training and sparring, building experience and developing skills against a variety of opponents. This has not been possible for some time so the Lochaber coaches have been liaising with other clubs in meeting up for sparring sessions a soon as possible.
Last Saturday that day-long event was hosted by the Highland Boxing Academy (HBA) in Inverness and plans are already place for several of the participants to attend a session in Lochaber Phoenix’s Corpach gym within a few weeks.
Head coach Vince Lopez said: ‘I would like to thank HBA for organising and hosting this.
‘All of our boxers did extremely well and gave a really good account of themselves. Our team was a good mix of newcomers to the ring with others who have a few fights already under their belts and they were really supportive of each other.
‘This was a great opportunity for everyone taking part, but especially for those making their debut as this was the first time they have sparred in front of an audience of complete strangers. It was even more daunting by the fact it was also their boxing peers.
‘However, myself and fellow coach Aidan Donnelly were very happy with what we saw and how they reacted. They are a great squad and will make for an action packed Home Show.’
Main photograph (NO_F43_LochaberPhoenixBoxing2): The four schoolboys who will be making their debut in the ring at the Lochaber Phoenix Club Home Show on November 6. From left: Jamie Douglas, Toby Jackson, Noah Johnston and Callum MacLean. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.