New home for Mansfield boxing club as the titles keep coming

East Midlands champion Archie Alton with Julian Leivars
East Midlands champion Archie Alton with Julian Leivars

Despite being forced to move premises and a change of name, a Mansfield boxing club is still chalking up success after success.

Quarry Lane Boxing Club members have won 15 of the club’s 19 fights this season and Nico Leivars and Archie Alton have just won major titles.

Sekani McKen takes instructions.

Sekani McKen takes instructions.

Things look set to get even better as head coach Julian Leivars is also in the process of taking his professional trainer’s licence, which will enable him to take the careers of his boxers to the next level into the professional ranks.

It’s a far cry from the body blow they suffered under their previous name of the Stags Boxing Academy when they had to close due the council putting their Bradder Way premises up for auction, leaving them with no other option but to move out.

With Julian’s team of boxers eager to train and compete at national level, local businessman and Nico’s sponsor for the last three years Andy Sutton, who owns AS Plant in Mansfield, stepped in to offer them a new home in a unit at Bleak Hill Sidings, off Sheepbridge Lane.

“I am really pleased with the new premises, they are ideal,” said Julian.

Nico Leivars with his Haringay gold medal

Nico Leivars with his Haringay gold medal

“We had to move out last November, but I never stopped training the lads. I took them across to Phoenix Boxing Club for four months.

“I have a very strong stable of boxers who are all competing - we don’t have any ‘fitness boxers’ - and they continued to box in competitions until we moved into the new place at the start of this month. Now we are in there seven days a week.”

With other local businesses help from the likes of Fortis Contracting Ltd, Ulyett Landscapes, QMC Ltd , Creative Colour Print, Carl Wright Haulage & Plant Ltd, Acorn Signs & Engraving Ltd, and Riley & Co, the Quarry Lane Boxing Club was able to open its doors.

Talented 17-year-old Nico Leivars, who now boxes out of Kings Heath Boxing Club in Northampton, but is also trained by dad Julian at Quarry Lane Boxing Club’s head coach, performed superbly at the three-day tournament at Alexandra Palace in London, to bring the gold medal home to Mansfield.

The Haringey Box Cup is the largest boxing tournament in the world attended by different countries and boxing clubs from all over the world, over 400 boxers competed over the three days in five rings, inside the echoing walls of the giant hall at Alexandra Palace in north London.

Nico had a very tough category including three national champions as well as the current English title belt holder, along with the boxer who has been chosen to represent England in the up and coming commonwealth games taking place in the Bahamas in July.

“When the draw was done on Friday we knew that whoever Nico boxed in the first round would be a tough bout, as all of the lads in his category are the best 56 kilo lads in the country,” said dad Julian.

For the first time England Boxing decided to put in a team in the Box Cup, all of which have been chosen to represent England in the next Commonwealth Games.

The quarter-final was between Nico Leivars (Kings Heath Boxing Club) and Shiloh Defreitas (Team England).

From the opening bell Nico took control with sharp long range shots, switching the attack from head to body through the middle of his opponents guard.

Nico dominated the exchanges, being sure to always have the last say against a skilled experienced opponent who has previously won two national titles. There was no doubt who won the bout as all the judges were in agreement in a unanimous decision for Nico.

The semi-final on day two saw Nico box Lewis Southgate (St Marys BC Chatham).

Lewis had received a bye the day before, so he was fresh and full of confidence, as he had just won a gold medal at the Hull Box Cup the previous weekend.

The bout didn’t disappoint as both boxers produced three rounds of high quality boxing, with Nico leading off behind his jab, throwing two and three shot combinations, and constantly on the front foot.

The end of the bout again saw Nico’s hand raised in a unanimous decision, securing him a place in the final against current English title belt holder Callum Grace (Platinum).

Both experienced boxers stood toe to toe throughout the bout, with Nico landing the cleaner eye-catching shots throughout each round, constantly switching from long range to mid and short range shots,.

Both boxers gave their all right up to the final bell, but Nico was deservedly announced as the 2017 56 kilo Harringay Cup gold medallist as he claimed his 50th career win.

Quarry Lane Boxing Club (formally Stags Boxing Academy) also had another member in the tournament, senior Sekani McKen, who came away with a silver medal in the hotly-contested Novice 69 kg category (U20 bouts).

Sekani’s quarter-final saw him box P. Todd (RAF), whose strong, come-forward style suited Sekani’s fast feet and sharp defences as he utilised his range and countered his opponent as he came into mid-range, resulting in an impressive unanimous win and a great start to the tournament.

In day two’s semi-final, Sekani boxed J. McIntosh (Double Jab). Sekani listened to instruction, lining up his opponent behind his lead shoulder and a sharp jab, to control the range and pace.

As the bout went on the Quarry Lane boxer began to go through the gears and fire two and three shot combinations, earning the judges’ favour with another unanimous win.

However, the final, against A.Winter (Battlebridge), didn’t quite go Sekani’s way.

Despite using his superior defences and ring generalship to make his opponent miss, he couldn’t quite find his range to land effective counter-shots, despite making himself plenty of opportunities and came away with an unfortunate split decision loss.

However, the experience gained throughout the tournament will be priceless as Sekani continues to grow and improve in the future.

The club continues to go from strength to strength, as Quarry Lane’s Harringay success came shortly after their 57kg junior boxer, Archie Alton, was crowned East Midlands champion with an impressive display in the final against Myles Fletcher, a very skilled national champion from Burton Park Boxing Club.

Anybody with previous combat experience or looking to train and compete at a national level can contact head trainer Julian Leivars on 07788 210433.