Conner Tudsbury made an impressive start to his first AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships with a commanding victory over Israel's Yan Zak.
The Maverick Stars ambassador won his cruiserweight contest via unanimous decision on day three of the tournament. The victory was all the more impressive considering the fact Conner stepped up from light-heavyweight to compete in Belgrade and was facing a much bigger opponent.
The 21year old GB Boxer, a product of Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club, is back out in action in the next round on Sunday afternoon.
Chantelle Cameron will be living the dream when she makes her ring walk as top of the bill in a world title unification fight at London’s O2 arena.
The Maverick Stars ambassador takes on Mary McGee on Saturday, 30 October in a fight that was originally chief support to Dillian Whyte v Otto Wallin. A shoulder injury sustained by Whyte put paid the heavyweight clash, so the battle for Chantelle's WBC and the American's IBF super-lightweight belts is the main event and will be beamed live around the world on DAZN.
The contest will be the Northampton boxer’s second defence of her title and doubles up as a semi-final in Matchroom’s ‘Road to Undisputed’ tournament to determine the number one women’s fighter at 140lbs.
Reaching her goal of becoming undisputed champion is tantalisingly close, but Chantelle knows there can be no room for complacency.
“She [McGee] has a lot of power, experience and she’s strong, But I feel like I’m a better all-rounder, a better boxer, faster and I’ve got a plan A, B and C. In every department I think I’m better,” Chantelle said.
“Win this fight and I go into the final. They’re talking about February for that and that’s for all the marbles. That’s a dream there, incredible.”
For years there has been talk of Chantelle going head-to-head against Irish superstar and undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor. Their paths are no closer to crossing, and although she has always wanted the fight, Chantelle believes that ship may have sailed.
“Realistically, I don’t’ think me versus Katie is going to happen. I’ve been chasing her for so long! There’s only so much chasing you can do – my feet are burnt out!”
Another Maverick Star will be flying the flag at the forthcoming AIBA World Boxing Championships in Serbia. Conner Tudsbury has been added to the select group of GB Boxers and joins super-heavyweight and fellow ambassador Delicious Orie at the tournament.
Conner is set to step up a weight division to compete in the new cruiserweight (81-86kg) category. The trip to Belgrade completes a fantastic year for the 21year old Mancunian who has already competed internationally at the EUBC U22 European championships and the Socikas tournament in Lithuania where he won a gold medal.
“The opportunity [to compete at the new weight] was there so I've taken it," Conner said. "I reckon I'll be good at cruiserweight! I've got the strength, the speed, the fitness. I'm looking forward to the World Championships. It's going to be great. It's a life changing opportunity. I want to win and bring home the gold."
Although confident he can make a huge impression at the tournament, Conner intends to compete back down in the light heavyweight division in the future.
2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, (26 October – 6 November 2021)
Delicious Orie will take his place at the World Boxing Championships in Serbia alongside fighters from 105 countries. The GB super-heavyweight and Maverick Stars ambassador has been selected to take part in the tournament which starts in Belgrade on October 24.
It has been an eventful year for ‘DJ’ who travelled to Japan as chief sparring partner for eventual Olympic bronze medallist Frazer Clarke. The Wolverhampton fighter - born in Moscow to a Russian mother and Nigerian father – now has the chance to impose himself on the world scene.
“Having Big Frazier there and learning from him has been very, very valuable for me,” DJ explained. “Not just the Olympics but competing for GB in Lithuania and just the training and the GB life I’ve been having for the past year and a half. It’s led nicely to the Worlds.
“Qualification is just on a selection basis. If the Heads [coaches] at GB think you can medal and you’re good enough, then they’ll enter you for it at that weight class. I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity and grateful that the coaches know I’m ready for it. All I have to do now is go in there and do it! It’s that easy!
“The whole aim really is to get the experience and to raise my profile and let the other boxers and the world know that I’m here, I’m working hard, I’m going to be here for a good few years as an amateur until the Olympics. This is like a good first entrance into the real, proper international world stage.”
For the first time, tournament organisers AIBA are putting up significant prize money with gold medalists in each category receiving $100,000, silver medalists $50,000, and both bronze medalists awarded $25,000.
“It’s a good little bonus, extra incentive to get up in the morning and train!” DJ laughed.
Along with his busy GB commitments, DJ also finds time to support Maverick Stars initiatives at South Wye ABC in Hereford.
“I’ve been trying to go down there every week. When I’m done here in Sheffield, I drive down to Hereford to support the kids. I wouldn’t call myself a coach, but I go there to give advice about boxing, not just the technical side, but how to cope with pressure of competitions, the diet, how to train, stuff like that. The coaches say I’m a positive role model and that’s the aim, what I’m trying to achieve.”
Geordie boxing prospect April Hunter has joined forces with Maverick Stars to spearhead a campaign to raise CPR awareness and provide vital defibrillators.
The unbeaten fighter joins the charity as ambassador and, along with continuing her success in the ring, is determined to succeed in highlighting a cause very close to her heart. Her cousin Paul Gardner died on his 24th birthday whilst on holiday in 2018. The PGCPR app was set up in his name to raise funds to buy defibrillators for the North Shields area where Paul and April were born and raised.
"He [Paul] was in Ibiza with his friends and he got into difficulty in the water," April explained. "He was the only one who knew CPR. He was still breathing, his heart was still beating when he was out of the water but........even if someone knew CPR, you never know, but it would have been nice if someone there had given him the best chance. I want to highlight the importance of CPR and defibs. It's something I want to do."
April will work with Maverick Stars while she continues in her quest for a world title. A talented footballer who was once on Newcastle's books, the 26year old fights in her home city on Saturday (16th October) on a bill which includes her friend Savanah Marshall, Chris Eubank Jr, and fellow Maverick Stars ambassador Brad Rea. All the action is live on Sky Sports.
The English Institute of Sport was the venue for a hugely successful female coaching development programme. The residential weekend in Sheffield, supported by Maverick Stars Trust, hosted trainers from across the country.
Ten selected coaches made the trip to the home of England Boxing and GB Boxing. Under the guidance of Laura Sargeant and Amanda Coulson, coaches took part in practical and reflection sessions covering all aspects of development and learning. Maverick Stars was happy to cover the cost of accommodation which allowed all coaches to get the most out of the two day course.
Laura said: "Amanda and myself would once again like to thank Maverick Stars Trust for their support in this truly amazing programme.
“Extended thank yous also go out to Talent Pathway Coach Phil Knight and his boxers from Lionheart Boxing Academy, who helped with the practical elements of the sessions and Chris Porter, England Boxing’s Coaching Consultant, for delivering a great session on boxer-coach relationships.
“Finally, we’d like to thank Lorna Moser, Rachel Bower, Caroline Dent and Vicky Connor for their continued fantastic mentorship to the coaches during this programme.”
Coaches on the 2021 FCDP programme: Kate Newton – Rathbone (London), Igne Vaitkunaite – High Wycombe (Home Counties), Naadrah Hafeez – Gladiators (Yorkshire), Kara Mikolajczyk – Mikey’s (Midlands), Claire Salisbury – Jewellery Quarter (Midlands), Donna Harvey-Arnell – Ipswich (Eastern Counties), Louise Vidor – Bright Star (Midlands), Sally Webb – Priory Park (Midlands), Kerry Norfolk – Norwich City (Eastern Counties) and Samantha Fawcett – Warrington (Merseyside and Cheshire).
Maverick Stars is extending its ‘Operation Warrior’ programme to several new UK regions. The initiative has proved an outstanding success in supporting armed forces veterans.
Following an inaugural veterans project on Merseyside, eight-week courses - featuring boxing sessions, team building days, guest speakers and mental health first aid - are up and running throughout Greater Manchester, Lancashire (in partnership with Burnley FC), and Tyne & Wear. Plans are in place to extend the initiative to the midlands, and the south-east.
Tony Gilley, head of Maverick’s veterans programmes, said:
“It’s no secret that many vets encounter problems when they leave the forces. There can be problems with addiction, isolation and poor physical and mental health. Our work is based at boxing clubs and the courses help raise self-esteem through improved fitness and other opportunities.”
Maverick Stars have now directly engaged with more than 800 veterans by working with ten veterans organisations across the regions.
A special guest dropped into a recent Maverick Veterans session at a Hereford gym. GB Boxer Delicious Orie - recently returned from the Tokyo Games - used his significant talents to put participants through their paces.
The initiative at South Wye Police Boxing Club is part of Maverick Stars Trust's 'Operation Warrior' - providing support and opportunities for veterans of the British Armed Forces. Many vets encounter mental and physical health problems upon leaving the forces - boxing has a positive effect on confidence, motivation and and stress levels.
Delicious (DJ for short) is a Maverick Stars ambassador who works across a range of projects for the charity. The Wolverhampton super-heavyweight - born in Moscow to a Russian mother and Nigerian father - is a key member of Team GB and recently returned from Japan where he helped his teammate, and eventual bronze medallist Frazer Clarke, prepare for the tournament. The experience has made the 23year even hungrier to qualify for Paris 2024 and and ultimately take his place on the podium.
Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens is ready for his world title tilt and is already planning his next project – helping families struggling with addiction. The 30year old takes on old rival Kid Galahad for the IBF Featherweight on Saturday, 7 August.
The pair met as young unbeaten pros in a British title fight in 2013, with the Sheffield man claiming a tenth-round stoppage. But this time, at Matchroom's Fight Camp show live on DAZN, Jazza is expecting a different outcome.
"I think I set my feet a bit better now. When I turned pro people used to say that I needed to plant my feet and I didn't know what they were on about!" Jazza said. "I've grown, I've matured, I'm 30 now. I think maturity is the main factor."
After the fight, Jazza intends to turn his attention to a project he's developed in partnership with Maverick Stars - supporting people who've suffered as a result of addiction. Throughout his childhood, Jazza watched his father Colin struggle with drug dependency. Thankfully, Colin is now twelve years in recovery and the pair will work together to help other families going through similar experiences.
“You lose everything [with addiction] and I think families are usually the last to hold on until they say that they can have no more. You should never lose family. Me and my Dad rebuilt our relationship after a lifetime of addiction, so if we can, we can show a way and work a programme.”
Young Salfordians keen on pursuing a career in boxing, or other sports related jobs, can now follow their dreams at Walkden ABC.
From September (2021) 'The Boxing College' will open its doors to students aged 16 and over. Based at the recently launched Walkden ABC, the 'Educational Boxing Programme' will offer Level 1, 2 & 3 Diploma in Sport along with Level 4, 5 & 6 University Programmes. A classroom has been set up at the gym, allowing boxing training and study to take place all under one roof.
Walkden ABC founder and Maverick Stars ambassador Jamie Moore said: "I was grafting, delivering beer [at the start of his boxing career] and it was a pipe dream to do boxing day in day out. This would have been my ideal scenario. That's why we've done it."
The Boxing College is holding an Open Day at Walkden ABC (Walkden Town Centre) between 12-2pm on Saturday, 31 July. All are welcome to pop in to find out more.