Sunderland schoolgirl takes silver medal for boxing in European Championship finals as she rises through the ranks
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Layla Straughan, 13, from South Hylton, flew to Turkey to compete in the EUBC Schools European Championships 2022, making it to the finals and achieving a silver medal, making her the only female from Sunderland to have ever won a medal at the championships.
It’s the latest accolade for the rising sporting star who earlier this year won the gold gloves and medal for the second year running at the prestigious England Boxing National Schools Championships, which propelled her onto the international stage.
Layla fights out of North Star ABC in Kings Road, Southwick, which is having great success with its fledgling fighters.
The Christ’s College pupil looks up to established boxers Savannah Marshall from Hartlepool who is a world champion and lightweight champion boxer Katie Taylor and she’s hoping to rise through the ranks and make a career in the sport.
Dad Darren Straughan, who flew to Turkey with Layla’s mum Natalie and grandma to see her compete, said he couldn’t be more proud of her achievements.
"She did brilliantly reaching the final and fought three national champions, it’s as big as it gets,” he said. “It was actually a very controversial final and a split decision by one point. It was so close that they’re hoping to run the bout back against the Irish fighter Layla fought in the finals.
"The whole England squad did well and they achieved the most medals they ever have at the European championships with 18 medals out of 21 fights.”
He added: “Boxing is Layla’s life and she’s so disciplined. The efforts of North Star ABC and the head coach at England, Amanda Coulson, and the whole coaching team at England are amazing. Without these guys it’s not possible for these kids to achieve their goals.
"The sport really helps set them up in life and to overcome adversity, even stepping out in front of hundreds of people in the crowd is such an achievement.”
Head North Star ABC coach Danny Hopper started the club in a function room at the old North Star pub and when the pub closed took on the remainder of the site where he runs both adult and children’s classes five nights a week.