OLYMPIAN Tony Jeffries has been teaching pupils how to box clever.
The 26-year-old professional boxer went back behind a desk for a day to talk to Year 9 students at Sandhill View School about healthy eating and making the right choices in life.
He visited the school on Grindon Lane as part of a break from his tough training regime in LA.
“I didn’t realise just how passionate I was about getting into these kids’ heads,” he explained.
“I got such a good response from them. I think it’s different when I speak to them compared to when a teacher speaks to them because they see me more on their level.
“It only seems like two minutes ago that I was sitting where they are.”
Tony, a former Farringdon School pupil, has decamped to America to further his career but says his actions as a teenager have come back to haunt him.
He explained: “I was telling them about when I was their age and I pinched some nails from a building site. I didn’t think it was anything serious at the time and I only got a caution but it has caused problems with me getting a visa.
“My point to them is that you should think about how your actions now can affect you in later life.
“I spent the whole day with them from 8.30pm to 3.30pm talking about healthy eating and not smoking as well.”
Tony heads back to America on April 5 where he is being trained by Tommy Brooks whose former charges include Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
His inspirational visit to Sandhill was part of a Healthy Arts and Culture week involving Years 7,8 and 9.
Assistant head Hilary Akien, who organised the week with colleagues Jo Rose and Bev Oliver, said: “Tony’s visit was about looking at health issues but also looking beyond what you think you can achieve.
“His message was that if you work hard, you can get there. He did stress what hard work it was to be committed to training and not going out with your mates. He also slated risky behaviour such as smoking, drinking and drugs, all the things which aren’t good for your health.
“He had a really positive response from the pupils. He’s a local lad who they can look up to.”