16th Nov, 2019

Yafai visit inspires Cleary's fighters

Ben Tyler 30th Oct, 2019

WBA super-flyweight world champion Khalid Yafai graced Cleary’s Boxing Gym with his presence last week in preparation for his upcoming bout with Juan Estrada.

The 30-year-old, who is set to face the unbeaten WBC champion in December or at the beginning of 2020, attended the gym for a session on the pads with his coach Max McCracken.

It gave the likes of Team GB’s Lewis Williams and Danny Quartermaine, in addition to other upcoming fighters emerging from the gym, the chance to witness an elite-level boxer at work.

Following his session, Yafai stayed to observe the talent coming through at Cleary’s and watch the next crop of fighters in action.

He hopes to be in attendance at the next show hosted by the gym at Trident College on Saturday December 14, depending on the date of his fight.

13-year-old Southam College student Reni Bulyka could be set to make his debut in that particular show, having impressed his coaches at Cleary’s, despite being a relative newcomer to the sport.

Elsewhere, fighter Jaya Kalsi recently appeared in her first-ever bout at the age of ten, less than three weeks after her birthday.

The All Saints Church of England student took advantage of a rule change made earlier this year, in which ten-year-olds can now box in one-minute contests, to make her debut in Weston-super-Mare against home boxer Hollie Main.

Kalsi enjoyed her first fight and made a number of clean shots, appearing to be enough to edge the fight, though a split decision tipped the result in favour of Main.

Despite the defeat, she becomes one of the youngest female boxers to fight competitively, and has the backing of head coach Edwin Cleary to go all the way.

“Jaya has taken to boxing like a duck to water, shocking boys and their coaches in sparring,” he said.

“On the night, she demonstrated that she is a star in the making.

“She has it all: technique, great balance, strength, determination and desire. She does this with a smile on her face and took it all in her stride.

“She doesn’t get fazed by anything in the ring, her mum told me that she took her trophy to bed and keeps asking for a rematch.”

Cleary also spoke of his pride after the news of Morgan Ansell and Aman Kumar’s call-up to the England ranks, adding: “As a coach, every time a youngster who attends your gym develops to become a boxer, you feel a sense of pride.

“But when you have two with England, somebody’s doing something right.

“These camps really do bring them on, with all of the top fighters travelling from around England, it gives our youngsters a chance to spar other top boxers.”

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