A WIGAN teenager who has been training as a boxer for just one year, is on her way to becoming a qualified coach.
Sam Houghton went along to an amateur boxing class as part of a youth project and just 12 months later, she is teaching the sport.
Sam, 17, who was bitten with the boxing bug is now training to become a qualified coach at Wigan Amateur Boxing Club on Wigan Road, Landgate.
Tony Russell, from Wigan Council’s Positive Activities for Young People team, first brought Sam to the club as part of the X-Zones project for young people.
He said: “We approached Sam on the streets with her mates a year ago. We asked if she wanted to join in some projects and got her along to the boxing club.
“Now 12 months later, she is teaching that same course! Sam has become really dedicated to the club and to boxing.
“She catches two buses to get here, up to four times and week, and has now started coaching to try and inspire other young people to take up the sport.”
Sam, from Marsh Green, said: “It has been a good experience ever since I first started coming. It’s enjoyable to get involved here and everyone is really friendly – they look out for you as soon as you join.
“I’m doing a college course now with ProCo and it’s made me more disciplined with that too. I’m really looking forward to coaching more, although I’ll definitely stick with my own training as well.”
The X-Zones – a project led by Wigan Council’s Youth Service teams – is aimed at providing positive activities for young people on Friday and Saturday evenings. Further boxing sessions as part of the X-Zones are taking place at Wigan ABC now, along with the club’s own training and fitness sessions throughout the week.
John Lyon, founding member of the boxing club and a former Commonwealth gold medal holder himself, said: “Women’s boxing is one of the fattest growing sports in Britain.
“Sam is good at it and she’s really putting the work in to get better.
“We’re really happy to have her on board helping to train up other young people.”
Ashton Ward Coun Nigel Ash and Bryn Ward Coun Anne Rampling have also shown support for the club by helping to provide and locate funding.
For information on Wigan Amateur Boxing Club call 01942 207347 and for X-Zones project, call 01942 486256.