Sharpstyle Boxing Club in Blackpool closes after more national glory

Seven years of glory for Blackpool's Sharpstyle Amateur Boxing Club ended on a high with two more national champions.

By Andy Moore
Friday, 1st April 2022, 12:30 pm

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Leighton Birchall and Monae Smith won titles at the England National Junior Championships in Surrey on an emotional weekend for the Sharpstyle club.

Owner Andy Abrol has made the agonising decision to close his hugely successful club on Bagot Street to focus his energies on coaching son Jake as he makes his way in the professional ranks.

Monae Smith of Sharpstyle became and England Boxing Junior champion in Surrey

Sharpstyle has produced over 40 national champions since opening its doors in 2015 and that phenomenal run continued to the end.

The club's newest member Smith won the 57kg open class in Guildford by beating Nancy Shepherd of Kent Gloves ABC.

Twice a national runner-up before joining Sharpstyle, Monae's final was adjudged the best open-class female fight of the event.

For Birchall this was a fourth successive national title as he won all six fights without losing a round in the 50kg open class category

Leighton saved his best performance for his final against Jake Hornsby (Chadwell St Mary's, Essex).

His accurate punches and fluid movements were a pleasure to watch as Leighton again picked up the award for best open-class junior boxer.

It was a fitting end to the Sharpstyle story for Abrol, though one which made his decision to close the club all the more difficult.

He told The Gazette: “The decision was very hard but the last seven years have taken their toll. I can no longer run the club and give my son the time he needs as he embarks on his professional career.

“Jake is why I got into coaching, and when he wanted to start competing I opened this amateur club and formed a team who have gone on a journey with Jake.

“But for the past three years I've done it on my own and it takes so much out of you, travelling with the boxers around the country and into Europe.

“Boxing is such a hard sport I didn't want Jake to do it at first, but he's been brought up in the gym and smashed all the goals we set.

“After Covid, Jake didn't want to go back to amateur boxing and he's more suited to the professional style. I took him sparring with the top pros and he's more than holding his own. I'm sure he'll go all the way.”

Andy also predicts a big future for Jake's Sharpstyle teammates, adding: “They have won pretty much everything there is to win and I'm sure they will continue to do so. They are all great kids who could walk into any gym in the country.

“We've been winning from the beginning to the end and broken records in this town and across the country. I don't think any other amateur club has won so much in such a short period.

“My doors are still open to all the boxers and I've told them they will always be welcome. And I hope that when they are ready to turn pro they will knock on the door.”

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