Newmarket-based New Astley Boxing Club's future looking bright
New Astley Boxing Club is fully operational after Covid-19 restrictions were eased – and head coach Mark O’Reilly is excited about the future.
O’Reilly kept his fighters engaged during the numerous lockdowns by putting on Zoom sessions, followed by work-outs on The Severals when group exercise outside was permitted.
And now back at the Racing Centre base, O’Reilly has been putting his stable of youngsters through their paces.
“The club is running well and we’re back up full time now,” he said. “We’re keeping busy and it’s been great to see plenty of new people coming through the door.
“We’ve got some very talented young boxers coming through. They’re doing really well and it’s brilliant to see – that is why we do the coaching.
“A couple have really surprised me as well. Some I didn’t think would be boxers, but they’ve worked hard and really improved – I’m very proud of them.
“The Zoom classes helped. Everyone showed their commitment, which was amazing.
In terms of getting his fighters out and about for competitive action, O’Reilly is in no hurry.
He is confident a handful are not far away from being ready to get into a ring with an opponent, but that will only happen when the experienced coach believes the time is right.
“I’ve got plenty of boxers, probably about 10 to 15, that we work really closely with,” he added. “We’ve got high standards at the club and we don’t just allow them to go out there and fight.
“They have to be fit and they have to be ready because it’s a dangerous sport. We want these people coming back at 18, still keen to box.
“We never rush our younger ones, you’ve just got to be patient. Boxing at that age is all about patience and longevity.
“We want them to enjoy it firstly and then after that we look to progress things.
“A few of our youngsters are not far away now – we’ll soon be out on the road at shows.”
Demie-Jade Resztan is one fighter who flourished under O’Reilly’s guidance.
The 24-year-old is now part of the Great Britain Boxing set-up, and is currently in Bulgaria competing in the Balkan Women’s Tournament.
Despite her rise towards the top of the sport, O’Reilly remains Resztan’s coach and is particularly proud of her development.
“I’m not as involved in all the decisions now she is with Team GB but I’m still her coach,” he said.
“She’s ranked number four in the world at the moment and is really on top of her game.
“I don’t know the plan exactly – and it will depend how she does (in Bulgaria) but I would imagine she’ll be going to the World Championships next in November.”
Anyone interested in joining the club can contact The Racing Centre or visit the club's Facebook page for more information.