By Clive Bernath:
Former WBC super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall held a press open day to publicise his new Box-A Circuit Gym in Hive Street, Amblecote, Birmingham on Thursday (Nov 14), and has been inundated with inquiries to sign up for his unique classes.
The popular Telford fighter, who has won Olympic bronze and European and Commonwealth honours as well as the world crown, has teamed up with local businessman Jim Driscoll to open the first ‘Richie Woodhall Box-A Circuit gym’.
Woodhall, who last fought in December 2000, losing in a world title bid to Joe Calzaghe for the WBO super-middleweight crown, is keeping himself in condition by training members of the public in the art of self defence and passing on his vast knowledge of the sport, gained over a 28 year period.
The 34 year-old, first laced on the gloves as a six year-old in father Len’s amateur gym in Telford. Little did they know at the time, but father and son were about to embark on one of the most successful father and son partnerships in British boxing history.
Richie guided by Len not only won a bronze medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 but was also crowned Commonwealth Games light-middleweight champion in 1990.
In the same year the very likable ‘Telford Terror’ turned professional and became the Commonwealth middleweight champion in only his ninth fight with a first round knockout of Vito Gaudiosi. After four successful defences, Woodhall scored one of the best wins of his then short career when he stopped the useful Italian Silvio Branco in the ninth round to claim the vacant European middleweight crown.
After an unsuccessful crack at the WBC middleweight title against American Keith Holmes in 1996, the Midlander moved up to super-middle to out-point South African ‘Sugar’ Boy Malinga to lift the WBC super-middleweight crown, in front of his home crowd in Telford.
Woodhall is now very much retired and enjoying a successful career as a boxing commentator on the BBC. To add to that he has joined local businessman Driscoll in a new venture to pass on some of the skills and tips that made him one of the greatest ever boxers to come out of the Midlands.
“ I’m really pleased to be involved with this venture,” said Woodhall. “ Box-A-Circuit is very unique. We have done a lot of research into this and have played around with different ideas. This training is %100 non contact. It is an ideal way of getting fit without getting hit.
“ I access everyone that comes through the door to find out what level they’re at. Hopefully if we can make a go of this we can franchise gyms out all around the country.”
A public open day has been arranged for Saturday, before the official opening on Monday. Anyone wanting details and further information should contact Paul Wooding on 01384 350210.