BOXING coach Oli Francis is urging young people from Ludlow to follow in the footsteps of Chadd Woodfield, Ben Bywater and Terry Dean Smith.

The 31-year-old is Ludlow Amateur Boxing Club’s newest qualified assistant-coach and says more young people should get involved in the sport.

“I would urge people to come down the club even if they are from other sports and don’t necessarily want to compete in boxing,” said Francis from Diddlebury.

“The boxing club is open to everybody and people should come down and have a look because the fitness aspects are great.”

Francis, a tree surgeon, admits that he found boxing later in life.

He won the 75kg Midlands middleweight championship belt.

“I came to the boxing club when I was 27 or 28 just for fitness reasons,” he said.

“I wanted to keep fit and just do a bit of boxing.

“My boxing record wasn’t too great – I had seven bouts and I think I won two.

“I actually won a Midlands belt – but I have now gone into coaching.

“I won the title the first time I fought, in Tamworth, but I lost my first defence of it.”

He added: “To be a good boxer, it takes a lot of time and commitment.

“To do it well, you have to give 110% commitment.

“All the lads train very hard and are enormously committed. In my mind, I would love to step into the ring gain, but due to work and probably my age, it’s not always easy.”

Francis played rugby at school and was in the youth team at Ludlow Rugby Club.

He said: “Last year I did an ABA assistant-coaching course and it’s really nice being able to give some of our boxers a little bit of knowledge.

“My aim is to get down to boxing club twice a week to help ou.

“Sometimes I can make it once a week and other times, it’s just not possible.

“But it’s coaches like Stuart Richards and Colin Woodfield who always get to the club to coach twice a week every week, that keep the club going.”

For more details about the boxing club, contact Stuart Richards on 07738604358 or Colin Woodfield on 07866502485.