Freddie Norman – national champion

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After a year of rigorous training and overcoming nerves, the young boxer showcases his potential and snatches his first national title

Freddie Norman wins the title

Freddie Norman turned up at the Sturminster Newton boxing gym with his dad just over a year ago.
‘He said he’d visited when we had our open sparring,’ says coach Shaun Weeks. ‘He just loved the feel of the club and the way it was run, and felt that this was the place he wanted to learn the rest of his trade.’
Now Freddie travels up from Parkstone three days a week to train with Shaun and his team – and in April he won his first national title.
Still a junior, 14-year-old Freddie boxes in the under 63kg category – a professional Lightweight.
‘When he came to us he’d had six bouts – won three lost three.’ says Shaun. ‘Since then, he’s had 12 bouts and won 11 of them. That single loss was his second contest, he was stopped in a national quarter finals by a lad called Reuben James.
‘And what was nice about the recent competition weekend at Loughborough was that he was pitched against Reuben James again in the semi-final – only this year Freddie got a points win!
‘He then faced Charlie Hewitt, an unbeaten lad from the north west who comes from an old-school boxing family. Freddie beat him on points too, giving him his first national title: National Junior Cadet Champion.’
Following his win, Freddie was invited to the England Boxing Talent pathway trials, but of the 90 boxers who attended only six were selected, and unfortunately Freddie missed out.
However, the feedback from the coaches was really positive, and he’s been invited to attend the junior England prep camps for the European Championships and other competitions, to provide sparring practice and to help the competitors prepare.
The Junior bracket is a two-year window, currenty for boxers born in 2008 and 2009, and Freddie is right at the bottom of the age group. Selection was always a long shot, says Shaun. ‘And then when he was sparring, he missed his work a little bit. When we spoke afterwards, he admitted he’d been very nervous, it being his first time there. And he felt he rushed his work a little bit. But it’s a great learning curve – and the right people have seen him now. The fact that he’s been invited back to do sparring …
It took me 18 months before they’d even look at Ruby Else-White, and she started the same way, by being invited up to spar to aid the England team prepping for a competition.
‘So at least we’ve got our foot in the door. I’m confident he’ll end up boxing for England, he will win national titles in the future – he’s dedicated, and he’s a good lad.
‘And for a small rural club to have not one but TWO national champions! But the quality of the boxers coming through is amazing, we’ve got a great coaching team, a good working committee, and we’ve got lots of local support, which is excellent.’

Freddie with coach Shaun Weeks left and coach Eddie Wareham right

For every competition the Sturminster Newton boxers enter, the club needs sponsors to help with costs: they are usually looking for ten businesses to donate around £200 each.
They’ll get their logo on the event uniform T shirt, plus social media exposure. ‘Local trips aren’t so bad,’ says Shaun. ‘But we travel all over the country – we’re off to Sweden in November.
‘Other businesses support the kids with a regular monthly donation: whatever they can manage, even £20 helps, and that really helps to keep us ticking over. We only draw from it for travel costs, mainly for Ruby – and now Freddie – when they’re travelling to wherever the England camps are.’
If you’d like to get involved, contact Shaun on Sturabc@aol.com or 07817 243101

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