Unsung Hero – Mark Davidson

Unsung Hero – Mark Davidson

Each Friday we pay homage to a boxing ‘unsung hero’. The lifeblood of the sport - the men and women who have contributed so much and asked for so little, who have saved lives and transformed futures.

This week, we turn our attention to Mark Davidson, Head Coach at Timperley ABC in Greater Manchester. Like most boxing gyms in the UK, Mark’s gym on the Broomwood estate offers a haven for young people to socialise, train and compete. The gym is also a community hub and at the centre of many Maverick Stars initiatives including ‘Sting Like a Bee’ and ‘Fit and Fed’.

Mark is also, indirectly, responsible for the Maverick Stars Trust coming to fruition, as founder Charlotte Gilley explained.

“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be sat here now knee-deep in boxing! I set up this charity specifically for the boxing community and it’s all because he saw something in me. I needed a self-esteem boost and I got it from that [boxing].

“He does amazing things. He’s the textbook amateur coach who puts in hours and hours in of his own time. It’s not about champions in that gym, it’s about young kids from the estate coming in – if they box, they box.”

The next mission for Charlotte is to oversee a vital extension to Timperley ABC’s gym. The club has a long waiting list and Mark has been in the unenviable position of having to turn young people away from training as he cannot accommodate them.

Click here to hear the full interview with Maverick Stars Trust founder, Charlotte Gilley….


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Unsung Heroes – Pat and Roy Richardson

Unsung Heroes - Pat and Roy Richardson

Each week we pay homage to a boxing ‘unsung hero’. The lifeblood of the sport - the men and women who have contributed so much and asked for so little, who have saved lives and transformed futures.

This week, it's two for the price of one as we highlight the selfless work of Pat and Roy Richardson. Nominated by Collyhurst and Moston ABC's Thomas McDonagh, we decided to get the lowdown on all they've done for amateur boxing from their granddaughter and former commonwealth champion, Stacey Copeland.

"Grandad started our gym as Bredbury Steelworks 44 years ago," Stacey said. "They moved into the place we're at now and just in the last three years we've changed the name from Bredbury and Stockport [ABC] to the Roy Richardson Boxing Academy.

"My nan, initially her role was predominantly organising everything. They've organised trips to New York, Cuba, incredible places for kids who'd never been out of the local area. Granddad taught a few of the boxers to read and some of them have stayed with them when they've fallen on hard times.

"They've done a lot around boxing, but it's what they've done for people and the community, particularly young people, that is quite amazing."

Watch the full interview with Stacey below to find out more about the inspirational story of Pat and Roy Richardson.

Nominate your boxing unsung hero via… twitter: @maverickstars1 / Instagram: maverickstarstrust or our website: www.maverickstars.co.uk


Unsung Hero – Darren Barker pays tribute to Tony Burns

Unsung Hero - Darren Barker pays tribute to Tony Burns

Each week we pay homage to a boxing ‘unsung hero’. The lifeblood of the sport - the men and women who have contributed so much and asked for so little, who have saved lives and transformed futures.

To mark the sad passing of boxing's Tony Burns, 80, we caught up with former middleweight world champion and tv pundit Darren Barker. Described as his 'second father', Darren explained the impact Tony had not just on his life and career, but that of hundreds of boxers from all walks of life and abilities.

"He gave up the biggest part of his life to help others," Darren said. "I struggle to put into words how important he was in my life. A mentor, someone who could extract the best out of me as a sportsman and a person."

Tony, who was honoured with an MBE in 2009 for services to amateur boxing, was also an inspiration to Darren's late brother Gary - a junior Olympic champion who died in a car accident aged 19. 

"It hurt Tony a lot when my brother died. We were all so close. My Dad boxed at Repton, then me and my brother. Tony was very close to us all, he was there for us. It's crazy that for all the 365 days of the year that Tony could've passed away on, he passed away on my brother's birthday," Darren added.

Watch the full interview for more on Tony Burns, Darren's thoughts on boxing's role in communities, and his plea for all involved in the sport to do more to help grassroots boxing.

Nominate your boxing unsung hero via… twitter: @maverickstars1 / Instagram: maverickstarstrust or our website: www.maverickstars.co.uk

Unsung Hero – Kelvyn Travis

Unsung Hero - Kelvyn Travis

Each Friday we pay homage to a boxing ‘unsung hero’. The lifeblood of the sport - the men and women who have contributed so much and asked for so little, who have saved lives and transformed futures.

This week we focus on a man credited with guiding Audley Harrison to super-heavyweight gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It was a success story that led to a massive boost in funding for elite amateur boxing in Great Britain, a change that paved the way for Amir Khan, James DeGale, Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua, Nicola Adams and so many more.

But that contribution barely scratches the surface in terms of the impact and achievements of Oldham’s Kelvyn Travis. In paying homage to the man, Nigel Travis said:

“He’s right up there with the best unsung heroes I’ve ever known. He’s been coaching for more than 50 years and has worked tirelessly with the grassroots of our sport. He’s carried out nearly all his work as a volunteer – many hours in gyms over many, many years.

“He became a national coach and performance coach and helped set up what is now the GB Boxing centre in Sheffield. He was instrumental in all of it and has helped develop some of the elite fighters in our sport, working at the very highest level.

“He works tirelessly as an amateur and professional coach. He is in gyms around the country on a daily basis and is especially important to Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club, where he is simply known as ‘The Boss’.  I might be the head coach at the gym, but I dance to his tune. He’s everything to the gym, and he’s my Dad.”


Nominate your boxing unsung hero via…

twitter: @maverickstars1 / Instagram: maverickstarstrust or our website: www.maverickstars.co.uk

Good News Travels….

Good News Travels....

It's been a good week in the press for Maverick Stars Trust with publications nationwide giving column inches to our initiatives.

The Star in Sheffield reports....

Owls captain, Barry Bannan, has helped a local charity drive blitz passed their target of £500 as they seek to provide meals for young kids across the city, becoming the latest footballer to play his part following the incredible work being done by Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

Daniel Barton, of Mentalmate said, “We originally had planned to feed 50 children per day in partnership with Maverick Stars Trust… I shared this plan across social media and had a few queries about how people could also get involved in terms of both food and money donations. So I set up a fundraiser for anyone who wanted to help us reach more children.

In the Bolton News....

A community hub has surpassed its expectations of delivering 150 meals a week to the vulnerable- giving out more than SIX times that amount in just a week. Elite Community Food Hub in Halliwell is now seeking to raise £14,000 to keep going until the end of April, as demand for their service soars.

The hub has been working in partnership with Maverick Stars Trust to deliver food to young people and families around Bolton who would normally rely on school for a nutritious meal per day.

Meanwhile, in Bognor Regis, the Observer has this to say....

Southern Counties club, Bognor Regis ABC, was unable to return to its premises of eight years last July because its landlord needed to rent out the space at full cost, 'to recoup losses due to Covid-19 closures'.

Despite 'standing temporarily homeless', the 98-year-old club can now 'look forward to marking its centenary' thanks to support from the local community.


A Festive Family

A Festive Family

Maverick Stars joined forces with other Salford businesses and volunteers to ensure that more than 50 families enjoyed a bit more festive cheer than anticipated.

ViP companies boss Steve Wood made a generous donation to supply turkeys for needy families, while other contributors to food parcels included Ben Atkins' dental products and Veterans' Garage - a charity supporting military veterans and emergency services.

All hands were on deck at Walkden ABC to get the parcels packed and out to homes in time for Christmas.

Fifth Time Lucky?

Maverick Stars would like to wish our friend Martin Murray all the very best in his bid to finally win a world title when he takes on Billy Joe Saunders in London tonight.

Trained by Maverick Stars ambassadors Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis, Martin has fallen just short in four previous world title fights – a draw with Felix Sturm followed by a very contentious defeat to Sergio Martinez and losses to Gennady Golovkin and Arthur Abraham.

The 38-year-old now has one last throw of the dice when he challenges the unbeaten Saunders for his WBO world super-middleweight belt. A huge underdog, Martin is a winner regardless of the outcome of this fight. After overcoming his own troubles as a young man, he found salvation through boxing. More than a decade ago, Martin qualified as a youth worker and is determined to continue to help young people in his home town St Helens.

Here’s to fifth time lucky champ!

Man of the People

Man of the People

He's preparing for the biggest night of his boxing career, but Jazza Dickens is still helping others less fortunate in his home city. The affable Liverpudlian takes on Ryan Walsh in the 'Golden Contract' final with the carrot of a lucrative two-year, five-fight deal up for grabs for the winner.

"It's life-changing," Jazza said with a grin. "More than life-changing! It'll put me in a position I've never been in before. It'll put my family in a position they've never been in before. All the sacrifices made - I'm doing it for them, as much as for me and for my community."

Community is a word Jazza mentions often, although his work helping others goes largely goes under the radar. He's currently working on an initiative with Maverick Stars to help families affected by addiction - a subject close to his heart owing to his father's drug addiction and subsequent recovery.

"We need to bring back our communities," Jazza said. "Like the work you're doing at Maverick [Stars], it's amazing work and I'd encourage anyone to try and pick their community up, to get involved because so many things come from it."

Jazza is currently sporting a 'Mo' as part of Movember and all donations will go to the Sisters of Mercy who feed and clothe the homeless in Liverpool city centre. If Jazza reaches his £5,000 target, the moustache will stay in place for the Walsh fight

Meanwhile, the likeable featherweight has been training meticulously for the fight of his life under the guidance of coaching team George Vaughan and Maverick Stars' very own Derry Mathews.  The 29 year-old faces a big challenge against Norfolk-based Walsh - a man he has great respect for - but he's convinced it will be his night under the lights when the pair meet at a tv studio in Wakefield.

"A lot of things make sense coming into this final - the amount of time it's took, the COVID situation. I feel like it's all fallen into place," Jazza added.

Help Jazza help the homeless - https://uk.gofundme.com/f/5000-and-the-muzzy-stays-for-the-fight

Fighting for the Homeless

Fighting for the Homeless

Derry Mathews has linked up with a homeless charity in Liverpool to provide free boxing sessions for young people.

The former champion, working in partnership with Maverick Stars, has joined forces with the AIMS project which helps 18 - 24 year olds who are not in education, employment or training, access specialised accommodation.

"I'm getting some of them involved in the sport and getting them in [the gym] twice a week," he said. "Hopefully I'm pushing them in the right direction and keeping them occupied and out of trouble.

"Maverick Stars are making sure they're well fed too. It's been brilliant working with Maverick and I look forward to working with them on other projects."



A Delicious Welcome to Maverick Stars

Maverick Stars Trust has added another big hitter to its roster of ambassadors in the shape of top amateur Delicious Orie.

The 23 year old, 6ft 6ins super-heavyweight is part of the GB Boxing set-up and has his sights set on glory - just like Anthony Joshua. The pair have led a similar path in coming to the sport late, and both share a steely determination to achieve their goals.

Born in Moscow to a Russian mother and Nigerian father, 'DJ' and his family moved to Wolverhampton when he was seven. After excelling in various sports, he started boxing while studying at university in Birmingham and learned his trade under coach Mick Maguire at the Jewellery Quarter Boxing Club.

DJ joins fellow GB star Conner Tudsbury in becoming a Maverick Stars ambassador. Like Conner, he's committed to working on Maverick's initiatives - mentoring and coaching the next generation.

"I really enjoy training with the kids," he said. "Getting them moving and motivated to train and making them see it's possible to achieve big things. It's all possible.

"It was difficult initially, coming over from Russia to a completely different environment. But, growing up, at the back of my mind I knew there were a lot of opportunities in England and you just have to work for whatever it is you want to achieve.

"That's something that I want to push to the younger generation. If I was able to do it - someone who didn't learn to speak English until he was eight, who graduated from university and has been able to get on Team GB - then with consistency and hard work anything is possible."