Horsham Boxing Club had a special visitor this week in the shape of recent WBC Cruiserweight World Champion and conqueror of David Haye – Tony Bellew.
The 34-year-old Merseysider was in Sussex filming for the popular ITV fishing programme, The Big Fish Off and thanks to long-standing trainer John Essex, Horsham was chosen as a local boxing club to film the introductions to the episodes.
Alongside the ‘Bomber’, former Olympic athletic Dean Macy and Dave Coldwell, Bellew’s trainer, also visited the club’s gym in Horsham Park.
After a few hours of filming in the club ahead of shooting more of the program in Newdigate this week, Bellew spent time meeting some of Horsham’s young boxers and club secretary and coach Dan Purchase said it was a brilliant boost for the amateur club.
He revealed: “They wanted to do the introduction in a boxing club gym because of Tony and because John knows someone to do with Tony, they got in contact and it went from there.
“Tony was very humble and had great humility. He was happy to sign things for all the kids and take a bit of time with them. When we were watching some of the takes, he was also quite funny as well and he is also a pundit on Sky now.
“It was massively good for the kids to meet their hero in the gym and we didn’t tell all of them beforehand so to see some of their faces when they came in was great.
“I have already had a number of enquiries about joining the gym just a day after we posted pictures of Bellew on social media.
“As a lifelong Everton fan, I was particularly happy to meet Tony and my nine-year-old son Louie, hasn’t stopped talking about having his picture taken alongside his hero, a huge thanks must go to John for arranging this and it can only do the club’s exposure benefit.”
Essex, who played a major part in getting the world famous star through the door, added: “It’s a real boost to the club to have such a famous and talented boxer visit us and provides inspiration to all the young boxers and the seniors too.”
One of the boxers that Bellew spent time with was Max Cole, who is competing this Saturday in Portsmouth ahead of a potential National Minors quarter-final the following week.
The boxer, who has a record of 29 wins and two losses to his name, also met Hamish Millar, who is in action in Crawley on May 12 and Tom Tennant and Harvey Divall, who both travel to Whitstable on Friday for bouts.
Horsham also have 11 youngsters between the ages of seven and 12 on a skills show in Crawley on Sunday.
Josh Mercer competed in the National Schoolboy Championships last Saturday and was unlucky to end up on the wrong side of a very close points loss to the unbeaten Che Gallow from the Turners Boxing Academy in Kent, becoming the Southern Area runner-up