Women are proving they can pack a punch after joining a thriving boxing club.
Lambton Street Boxing Club, which is based at Lambton Street Youth Centre, on Falkland Road, Sunderland, set up a female section in January.
Within less than a year, they have now established a core group of 20 to 25 girls and women who train on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Three of them have already been carded, meaning they are able to box in shows, and the club’s target is to eventually have enough to run an all-female show, which would require about 16 boxers.
However, the female section is about more than just competing, and all are welcome to attend.
A spokesperson for the club said: “The female section was only set up this January, and we set ourselves some lofty goals, including to have the first female boxer from the section within a year.
With this session, the females can get used to boxing and train in a friendly, welcoming environmentLambton Street spokesperson
“Within three to five years, our target was to put on an all-female show. We’re ambitious, but we fully believe it can be done.
“It’s not all about competing, though, and the main thing is the inclusion.
“Whether eight or 80, people are welcome to come along. If people come to the gym, train for five years and never box, that’s not a bad thing, because we will have got them fit and into a social environment.”
Level 1-trained coaches are on hand to teach the boxers in what has been described as a a “friendly and welcoming” environment.
The spokesperson added: “The session is going from strength to strength.
“Female boxing has really taken off over recent years, particularly since the last Olympics. I think a lot of girls and women would be interested in it, but sometimes they may feel uncomfortable with the facilities available for them. It can be quite intimidating in some places.
“With this session, they can get used to it and train in a friendly, welcoming environment.
“Those who have been coming along over the last few months have developed massively in terms of their fitness and confidence, and the camaraderie among them is fantastic.”
Gina Jefferson, 13, was the first female from the club to make her debut when she won at the Stadium of Light on September 18. The sessions are on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6pm and 7pm, costing £1 for juniors and £2 for seniors.