by Will Ford
“Most boxing clubs out there want to make boxing champions but I want to make community champions.”
That’s what Mark Reynolds, Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club (RABC) founder and owner, wants to achieve with his club.
RABC is a community hub that provides high quality coaching with a focus on developing the life skills of young people.
The club has been around for over 20 years and they moved into a new state of the art facility at the start of last year.
Run by the community, it provides a safe place for young people to improve their fitness and boxing skills while keeping them off the streets and away from knife crime and gang violence.
West Yorkshire had the highest rates of knife crime after London in 2018.
Mark Reynolds, founder and owner of Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club (RABC), believes they have a duty to young people beyond what they teach them in the ring.
He said: “Society as it is now with knife crime, the drugs, the anti-social behaviour, it is paramount to have a boxing club with good street cred.
“We’ve got a young man now who was disengaged with education and going nowhere.
“He started boxing with us and had an aptitude for it, he learnt the discipline – he’s got a place now at Sheffield University to do an architects course.
“To me that is the success story – not to make the next Anthony Joshua.”
RABC work closely with schools and other community organisations to better understand the needs of young people in Colne Valley.
Paul Morris, club chairman, believes schools and clubs like RABC should be working together to improve the life chances of young people.
He said: “Academic qualifications are fantastic but the thing you need to get you over the finish line are the social skills and the ability to to be able to converse with and listen to different people in the community.
“We cater for everybody – young girls coming into boxing is massive.
“We’ve got junior girls and girls that fight – who provide something for the youngsters to aspire to.”
RABC hold classes for all ages and abilities. Contact Mark Reynolds for more details: email@example.com.