Orpington's Frank Bruno Boxing Academy gives students skills to fall back on
PUBLISHED: 10:24 19 November 2012
World titles, Olympic gold medals and BTEC qualifications. Not often achievements included in the same breath, but the Frank Bruno Boxing Academy is encouraging its students to aim for all three.
The academy, part of The Priory School, in Tintagel Road, is in its third year and has 16 fighters looking to combine training with higher education. Over 16s come from all over London to combine learning with training, some travelling 40 miles.
Coaching and tutoring pupils as part of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence scheme (AASE), Mark Collings, 40, says his students now have something to rely on if their careers are less successful than hoped.
He said: “Five years ago boxers who didn’t turn professional didn’t have any qualifications and had nothing to fall back on. The AASE provides them these qualifications so that they can get a job and further their careers. When you make it into the Great Britain squad, the boxers train three or four times a day and that’s what we try to introduce to them here. Extra little sessions that could be just a run or sparring.”
Rebecca Addlington is one names to achieve great things through AASE, but Mark believes he may have a future Olympian of his own at the Orpington academy.
Ted Cheeseman, 17, of Bermondsey, is a three time national junior champion and has been selected to represent England at this month’s Junior World Championships in Armenia. “He is one of these kids who has a real talent for sport,” says Mark. “He is a fantastic middle distance runner and was on Fulham’s books as a young footballer. With the way Ted is going, he will be in the next team for Rio. I’ve known him for just over a year now and he certainly has the potential.”
Ted also trains at his club in Bermondsey, Fisher Boxing, and is also given a helping hand with fitness by his uncle.
After leaving school, he began work as an apprentice scaffolder before joining the academy to take on a BTEC in Sport. He said: “If I hadn’t joined the academy I’d have been working and probably training less because of it.
“I train three times a day, six days a week. Every Monday I wake up and think ‘why am I doing this?’ But when you win a fight or get selected for the England team, that’s when it all pays off. Rio is only three and a half years away, so I’m getting serious about making the squad now. I want to move to Sheffield and train with Team GB and as long as I perform at the World Championships, I stand a good chance of making it.”
Mark is hoping the success of this year’s boxing Olympians, such as Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams, will see an increase in recruitment.
The academy is putting an emphasis on recruiting girls in February, as he feels female boxers can often be left with few options. He said: “We really hope the Olympics will push the girls on to join. Clubs often haven’t got the facilities to accommodate girls and sometimes they just don’t have the desire to take them on.
For information on the Frank Bruno Boxing Academy and to find out how to join, visit www.priory.bromley.sch.uk/Sixth-Form/Frank-Bruno-Boxing-Academy.