We could definitely see an Olympic boxer come out of the city – Pitman
BOXING coach Jon Pitman is hopeful both professional and Olympic boxers could be coming from the Gloucestershire boxing scene very soon.
Pitman has secured a professional coaching licence after achieving a 100 per cent pass rate in his exams and he believes with the help of his own gym, The Factory ABC Boxing Club, the sport is now thriving in the city.
Pitman is one of the first professional coaches for 30 years in Gloucester, and he is currently working with professional boxer Danny Carter.
"I took my exams because I wanted to train Danny and allow other boxers in the club to turn professional," he said.
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"Danny had a long amateur career before turning professional two years ago, and has won all four of his professional fights so far.
"He's a very good talent but had to travel to train. Now he can train in Gloucester with me."
Pitman said in the last four years, two more boxing gyms have opened and in a two-hour training session 60 people come through the doors of his gym on Stroud Road to train.
"We have decent amateur boxers but this is a rugby city and boxing isn't always at the forefront of people's minds," he said.
"The Olympics helped and lifted sport in general. Now boxing is really taking off.
"British boxing secured a lot of funding for Rio 2016, and now we need to see this funding going to the right places, the right coaches going to the right places.
"We could definitely see an Olympic boxer coming out of Gloucester."
But it is not just performance benefits that boxers are reaping.
Pitman has found that teenagers come to the boxing club needing the guidance, direction and discipline boxing can offer and he has seen many youngsters responding well.
"We are very strict with the kids and they respond well to it," he said.
"I have seen a big difference in their self-confidence and in the respect they show others.
"They are taught to listen and work hard or don't come back.
"About 18 months ago one lad came to us, who was involved in a lot of crime. He had not respect, no direction and a bad attitude.
"Now, he has turned his life around. He has a lot of respect and really is a different person."
While Pitman could not turn professional in his fighting days due to injury, his son Jay is something of an emerging star, despite being only seven years old.
"I've put a bet on him being British champion by the age of 25," said Pitman.
The boxing club is part of the Fight Factory Gym which Pitman runs alongside Richard Mann and Steve Trigg.
The club are holding their first Amateur Boxing Association boxing show on March 30.
The coaches are currently looking for sponsors for the 13 matched bouts.
Pitman said: "We are hoping for businesses to sponsor each bout.
"They will need to sponsor a minimum of £50 and in return they will get their names on a trophy, a photo with the winner, a half-page advertisement in the programme and tickets for the boxing.
"Previous ABA champions Peter Hanlon, Dave Simmonds and Harold Hilton will also be there.
"Peter and Dave both coached me when I was younger and without them, we wouldn't be here.
"They formed a big part of my young life."
Though Pitman found the exams daunting, he said the support from his family and his wife had been invaluable.
"It has been a big joint effort from my wife, my family and I to get here today," he said.
"This is just the start of my education and I have so much to learn.
"I have had a lot of help from very knowledgeable people, who have been brilliant up to now.
"I will keep learning and I am in the best position possible."
Tickets for the Factory Club's boxing show are available at the gym on Stroud Road, Gloucester or by telephone on 07794 338447.