STUDENTS in Huddersfield are being urged to combine boxing with their studies.
And the hope is they will take inspiration from Olympic champions.
Kirklees College has joined forces with Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club to offer classes for competition or fitness.
The triumphs of Olympic gold medallists Nicola Adams, who has family in Huddersfield, and Luke Campbell, have led to an explosion of interest in the sport.
Boxing coach Mark Reynolds, who set up the Rawthorpe club in 1998, said he was knocked out by the upsurge and added: “They talk about the Olympics inspiring a generation, well it has certainly inspired Huddersfield.
“We are receiving dozens of calls a day.”
The Rawthorpe club has now signed up with Kirklees College’s Sports Academy to provide a boxing club for students of both sexes from September.
Students starting full-time courses will have the option of training as boxers in addition to studying for their vocational qualification.
Mark, who has been involved in boxing for 35 years, said the link-up was brilliant for the club.
“We have had our struggles down the years and if it wasn’t for my stubbornness we would have folded a long time ago,” he said.
“But I have such passion for the sport and believe it can bring out the potential of even hard-to-reach kids.
“It’s not about knocking seven bells out of each other, it’s about discipline, structure, respect, fitness, nutrition. I could go on.
“Now we can combine discipline in learning with discipline in sport. This gives us the chance to achieve the potential we always knew we had.”
The club, based at the Gas Club in Huddersfield, has 300 members aged from five to 79, and Mark said there was a post-Olympics feel good factor.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “We have had all sorts of people ringing us from parents wanting to send their five-year-olds to people in their 40s and 50s wanting to box for fitness.
“Linking up with the college means we can identify talent and signpost them towards the boxing club in the evening.
“I know boxing can change people’s lives for the better.
“It’s not about conflict it’s about hard work, fitness and commitment.
“These skills are sometimes best taught outside the classroom and will help Kirklees College’s students become both mentally and physically fit to succeed in life.
“This could be a real jewel for the town and for Kirklees.”
Head of sport at Kirklees College, Vicki Slater, said boxing offered new opportunities for students.
She added: “We know there is increasing local interest in boxing and I’m really pleased we can offer this fabulous opportunity to our students.
“Rawthorpe is a well-established club, run to the professional level we would expect for our students, and Mark is extremely passionate about the project. The partnership promises to be ideal.”
Anyone interested in joining the Kirklees College Sports Academy boxing needs to be aged 16-18 and enrolling on a full-time course in September.
Call the Sports Academy hotline on 01484 437053 or e-mail: