World champion kickboxer Billy Saul puts Excelsior’s Shakira Begum through her paces.
Pupils are pulling on the gloves and letting off steam under the guidance of a former world champion as the bell sounds for another round of popular boxing sessions at Excelsior.
Paul Fiske, former professional boxer and ABA Military Combine Services heavyweight champion, together with fellow Felling Warrior Billy Saul, ex-kickboxing featherweight and super featherweight world champion, are leading training sessions in the academy gym for pupils and students from Year 7 through to Excelsior College.
Their deep knowledge of the sport means youngsters are guided through a full package of ABA mandated ‘Olympic-style Non-Contact’ boxing training.
Pupils also learn self defence techniques, pad and bag work to introduce them to the world of boxing where Billy scaled the heights to world champion status in the late 1990s.
Paul Fiske fought former world heavyweight champions Tony Tucker and Tim Witherspoon in 2009, bringing deep rooted experience from the Felling Warriors Boxing Club into Excelsior.
Such is the popularity of the Excelsior club, that pupil Shiniece Reed has gone on to join the Felling Warriors where Billy, Paul and fellow coach Sarah Felton train dozens of people in kickboxing, Muay Thai boxing, MMA and traditional boxing skills.
Excelsior Academy is a satellite gym for the Felling Warriors and Billy and his team are delighted at the attitude and application shown by pupils.
“It’s about fitness, about building confidence and friendships and it’s about discipline,” said Billy, 58. “It’s somewhere pupils can come to channel their feelings into a positive environment.
“Fitness gives you a better lifestyle, and boxing instils that discipline. We’ve had comments from parents and teachers in the past saying that pupils are paying more attention in class now.
“The discipline and attitude kids learn in boxing is something that they carry back with them to the classroom and back into the family home as well.”
Shiniece said: “I talked my Mam into taking me to Felling Warriors. I’ve bought myself a pair of boxing gloves and I’ve been practising with my Mam at home.
“If you’ve got anger building up through the day you can let it out with boxing.”
Fellow Excelsior boxing club pupil Shakira Begum said: “I enjoy boxing, it’s great exercise and really fun because I come here with my friends.”
The boxing sessions take place for Years 7, 8 and 9 from 3pm to 3.45pm every Tuesday and Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 follow straight on from 3.45pm to 4.45pm.
Pupils wanting to take part in the boxing sessions should speak with Michelle Johnson in the PE department.
For more information about Felling Warriors, go to: www.fellingwarriors.com