DJ’s Chance to Shine

DJ's Chance to Shine

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.

DJ at South Wye ABC

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.”



Coaching Masterclass

Coaching Masterclass

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).


Vets March On

Vets March On

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.

Maverick Ambassador and GB boxer Delicious Orie at a South Wye Vets session

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.

DJ Throwing Shapes

DJ Throwing Shapes

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.


Boxing Education

Boxing Education

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.

Sheffield Steel Stars

Sheffield Steel Stars

Maverick Stars Trust has launched a new partnership using football and boxing to help change young lives. The charity is working with Sheffield Wednesday FC and the Steel City Gym to deliver a series of workshops for local schoolchildren.

Sheffield's most successful amateur boxer Dalton Smith, now a leading light in the pro ranks, will be heading up the project along with boxing coach Pearce Gudgeon. The ‘Sting Like a Bee’ programme tackles issues such as conflict and anger management whilst encouraging team building and exercise.

"I go back to my childhood days, and it's something I didn't have when I was young," Dalton said. "You don't have to be a boxer, but if I can give something back, then it's nice for me to do that."

Head of Community at Sheffield Wednesday, Marcus Brameld added: "We're working with hard-to-reach kids, to give them the opportunity to come into a gym like this will be fantastic. I can only see it growing from here. It'll be great to see kids aspire to Dalton's level.”

To celebrate the launch of the initiative, members of the Sheffield Wednesday Academy took part in a training session at the gym. Click below to see how they got on.

Love for Boxing in Lancashire

Love for Boxing in Lancashire

Sport and politics  combined once again to celebrate the launch of a new partnership at a Lancashire gym. Maverick Stars Trust is working with Love ABA Police Boxing Club on a series of new initiatives.

L-R Charlotte Gilley (Maverick Stars Founder), Jake Berry MP, Paddy Connellan

The Rawtenstall gym, under the guidance of Paddy Connellan, has benefited from the charity's 'subs for clubs' initiative. All members trained for free for the first two months post-lockdown. The project gave the club a financial boost and supported the boxers' families, many of whom have struggled during the pandemic.

Maverick Stars has also secured funding for the club with help from MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry. The award will ensure the club continues its excellent community work.

"Now we have got a couple of coaches that come through the day one day a week, that opens up avenues," said Paddy. "We want to expand, we want to open it up to kids with autism, we haven't got that available to us at the moment but people have asked us for it."

To celebrate the new partnership, Jake attended a boxing session and even pulled on the gloves - albeit briefly! He said: "It's fantastic to see the work being done with so many young people; but in fact, an ABC is a lot more than that.

"I have lived in Rossendale for over a decade and I didn't know about the community work that is being done here, the outreach work to help people get back into the workplace, learn real self-worth, discipline, fitness.

“It's just brilliant to see it. It's a facility with boxing at its heart but this place goes so far beyond that."


Great and the Good at Walkden

Great and the Good at Walkden Launch

It was a who's who from the world of boxing and celebrity as Walkden ABC officially opened its doors.

The club - in partnership with Maverick Stars Trust - has been open for business since COVID restrictions were eased, but Wednesday 23 June marked its inauguration as a community boxing hub. The new facility at Walkden Town Centre has been a labour of love for former British and European champion Jamie Moore and Maverick Stars founder Charlotte Gilley.

“It's been a couple of years of hard work, but it's fantastic to see this gym finally up and running. Along with Jamie, there are so many brilliant coaches and volunteers involved," Charlotte said.

Those present included Jamie's fellow coaches Nigel Travis, Kelvin Travis, and Danny Wright along with current fighters Jack Catterall, Aqib Fiaz, Tursynbay Kulakhmet, Lerrone Harrison, Marc Leach, Sean McGoldrick and recently retired pair Anthony Crolla and Martin Murray. Local actors Jamie Lomas and Phil Middlemiss were also there to lend their support.

The opening ceremony was a proud moment for Jamie, who had invited Salford radio legend Mike Sweeney to do the honours and cut the red ribbon.

"What a fantastic event and I'm so proud we've finally brought this gym to fruition," Jamie said.  "I grew up around here and I know it's going to be such a valuable asset to the community for generations to come."



Gyms Finally Reopen Their Doors in England

Gyms Finally Reopen Their Doors in England

After an extended period of closure due to the CoronaVirus pandemic, boxing gyms up and down the country were finally able to reopen last week.

Derry Mathews Boxing Academy, Timperley ABC, Wimborne ABC, Pat Benson's Boxing Academy and Paramount ABC are all gyms that work in partnership with Maverick Stars Trust, and the opening of their doors means lives can once again be changed for the better.

Unsung Hero – Sean Rafferty

Unsung Hero - Sean Rafferty

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 celebrate the work of Sean Rafferty, nominated by his former fighter and now fellow coach, Steve Maylett. It was at Ancoats Lads Boxing Club, under the guidance of Sean that Steve learned to box, his mentor's methods sank in.  Steve has gone on to carve out a top career as both an amateur and professional coach, training hundreds of local children and stars including former world champion Terry Flanagan, Sam Maxwell, Liam Taylor and Zak Miller.

"I think he was the best of his generation in teaching you footwork. I built from there upwards," said Steve. "A lot of the fundamentals came from what Sean taught me. He's given his life to boxing. Not a lot of people know him, he doesn't do social media. He's always stayed self-efficient and he's an unsung hero for this part of Manchester. I know people who come to the boxing gym, they've not boxed for 15 years, but they still come and train. He's changed hundreds of lives."


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