By Damian Dolan
The Olympics dreams of 11 talented young boxers moved a step closer last week, as Powerday announced its 2019/20 bursary recipients.
Described as the “future of boxing”, the 11 boxers – nine boys and two girls all aged between 13 and 17 – also received equipment to help them further their careers.
The purpose of the bursaries is to help them go on and achieve success at Regional, National and International levels.
For most, if not all, the Olympic Games is the ultimate aim.
One of those is 17-year-old Sacha Hickey of the Fisher Boxing Club, who is described as “destined for the Olympics”.
From Eltham in south-east London, Sacha followed her brothers into taking up the sport ten years ago.
She’s now European, tri-nations champion and Junior ABA champion.
“The bursary is really good; it helps with training gear and the expense of getting to and from training,” she said.
Sacha’s goal is to win Gold at the Olympic Games and she’s already targeting Paris in 2024. The plan then is to turn professional and “win everything”.
National champion Charlie Hickford is highly rated and boxes out of the Bodyshots Academy of Boxing in Dartford.
From Medway in Kent, the 17-year-old comes from a boxing family – his father and brother both box. He’s now been involved with the sport for ten years.
“I want to stay amateur for as long as I can and the target will be the 2024 Olympics in Paris,” he said.
He added: “I didn’t like [boxing] at first, but I’d go to the gym and do a bit of skipping and I ending up getting into it. I’ve enjoyed it ever since.
“I extremely thankful for the bursary; it really helps to buy training gear and equipment, and being able to pay for boxing abroad.”
It’s the fourth year the Irish-owned London waste and recycling firm has handed out its annual Athlete Bursaries, and its chairman Mr Crossan urged the 11 recipients to grab the opportunity.
“Since we started, we can see the fruits of what we’ve sown,” Mr Crossan told the recipients, who were joined by their parents at Powerday HQ at Crossan House in London.
“Everyone who’s received the bursary has grabbed the opportunity and gone on to better themselves.
“We know the money helps; the results show that. Don’t waste it; you’ve got an opportunity.”
Mr Crossan was joined for the presentation by Lenny Hagland – Chairman London Boxing – and former British and Commonwealth Welterweight Champion, Bradley Skeete.
He also urged the young boxers to draw on the “fantastic support” they receive from the coaches at their own boxing clubs, to help them further their careers, and also to become “better people”.
He added: “The reward for them [the coaches] is for you to show that you can do it, and I’m sure that all of you will.”
Over the past four years, The Powerday Foundation has brought more than £12m into London boxing clubs, which has helped to build and refurbish gyms, improve equipment levels and fund schools programmes.
Previous bursary recipients have since achieved National and International titles, such as Caroline Dubois, the Junior World and Olympic Champion.
The initiative is one of the only commercial legacies for sport of the 2012 London Olympics.
Last year, Powerday became the main sponsor for London Boxing.