Champion Khan invited to boxing club open day

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Cleckheaton Boxing Club has invited World Champion and Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan to an open day at their new gym, in the former Bridon Wireworks on Bradford Road, this Saturday.

IBF and WBA world light welterweight champion Khan is currently on Haj in Mecca and they are hopeful he will return in time to attend. Dewsbury’s British champion Gary Sykes, who started his amateur career with Cleckheaton’s head coach Keith Tate, will lend his support at the open day, which is from 11am-3pm.

The event is a chance for everyone to see what goes on in the gym particularly the great work the club is doing with young people. It will also be a chance to pay tribute to head coach Keith and his wife Sally who have decided to cut down their hours.

Keith explained: “We have been doing this for more than 36 years now for five nights a week and sometimes seven days a week, it is time to take a step back, so we will be in the gym two to three nights a week.

“We have eight qualified coaches at the club who have also been trained by me and they will be taking on the organising and the coaching between them with the main coaches being Andrew Crocutt and Jordan Schofield.”

The changes come as the main work on transforming part of the former wireworks into a gym is completed, The gym boasts several boxing rings, rows of permanent punch bags, a mirrored area for exercise and skipping, changing rooms and showers. The gym also has kitchens and an office as well as an area outside which the young people use for sprinting practice.

The Cleckheaton gym as it is now has been a vision that has been turned into a reality for the Tates. When they started in area after Keith’s career as a professional boxer ended they ran a boxing club in the cellar of St Paulinus Catholic Church in Dewsbury. As the Dewsbury and Batley Boxing Club they also had premises in Vulcan Street, Dewsbury and the former Dewsbury Moor WMC before moving to Stone Street in Cleckheaton and most recently in South Parade.

The couple have put their heart and soul into boxing as well as plenty of their own money, they have also fundraised and also applied for grants to get the gym as it is now. Many of their supporters have been invited to the open day.

The rewards for the couple and the boxing club are seen in the faces of the thousands of children, boys and girls and adults who have been trained in their various premises over the 36 years. They continue to pack the new gym out five nights a week and more during the season when they attend boxing competitions and events throughout the country.

Over the years Keith has coached over 30 national amateur champions, he has also produced several amateur champions who have gone on to represent England and Great Britain. They include Gary Sykes who is currently preparing to fight for his British title defence and a third Lonsdale Belt, former professional James Hare and amateur champions Muhammed Ali and Corey O’Regan. In recent years the club has trained a number of girls who are having success in the ring.

In the weeks leading up to the open day Keith Tate had an operation on his hand and was recuperating at his brother’s house in Bridlington, but it didn’t stop him going down to the local boxing club and arranging for the two clubs to train together and meet each other in the ring at each others shows.