Sunderland Amateur Boxing Club celebrates 50th anniversary

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Sunderland Amateur Boxing Club is hosting a celebration night on Saturday to mark its 50th birthday.

The club is inviting anyone who has been part of its history to attend The Quayside Exchange on High Street East, from 7pm.

There will be the chance to look back at the club’s history through photographs and videos.

Over the last half century, SABC has been home to numerous national champions at schoolboy, junior and senior levels - as well as gaining international success including Tri Nation, European, World Championship, Commonwealth and Olympic Games medallists.

The club is also one of only two in the North East to produce four Great Britain Elite representatives since the introduction of the GB development pathway - Tony Jeffries, Warren Baister, Isaac Macleod and now Kiaran Macdonald.

John ‘Pasty’ Brown, Thomas Cumisky, Charlie Gray and Bobby Dixon founded the club in 1968.

Kiaran Macdonald.

Kiaran Macdonald.

Pastie, who developed the club with the late Bobby Bute over the years, continues to be a stalwart of SABC and is now Honorary President as well as an invaluable member of the coaching team.

Uniquely situated above Barnes Junior School since 1983, SABC has helped shaped the futures of thousands of young men, with an honours board that is a real ‘who’s who’ of boxing people and families from the city.

At the moment the club boasts three-time senior national champion Kiaran Macdonald, and national champion and Tyne, Tees and Wear area 71kg belt holder Travis Waters leading the way in the senior squad who train on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays see the schoolboys and juniors being put through their paces, with the club also providing a ‘Kid Gloves’ session on a Saturday morning and recreational fitness sessions for Over 60 men and women a week.

Tony Jeffries at the Sunderland ABC gym.

Tony Jeffries at the Sunderland ABC gym.

And the half century marks the introduction of a girls boxing squad at the club.

The club is run as a charity - completely self-sustained and run by volunteers.

Each week, over 170 hours of time are given to enable the organisation to function by a dedicated team of coaches, officials and administrators.

The club continues to develop and grow under the watch of John Brown and head coaches Joe Purvis and Jimmy Richardson who, along with coaches Clifford Quinnet, Steven Pattison Snr, Dean Hassan, Rob Harrison, Gavin Mcghin, Paul Myers and Kyle Ganley, boxed for the club themselves.

Club Chairman Owen McGhin is also a vital member of the backroom team.

This weekend will also see brothers Thomas and Luke Ratcliffe complete coaching courses.

The first bell on Saturday’s celebration night will ring at 7pm at The Exchange Building, - no more than a ring walk from the club’s first home in The Old Orphanage in the East End of Sunderland.

If anyone has any photographs that could be shown at the event, please email