A COUNTY Durham club will play host to boxing royalty as it welcomes some of the North East’s best young fighters to its first 'Annual Home Show' later this month.

West Auckland Amateur Boxing Club's squad will compete against boxers from across the region in a sell-out event that will be a benchmark of the progress achieved by a community club that was founded just two-and-a-half years ago.

Boxing legend John Conteh MBE, who held the WBC light-heavyweight title from 1974 to 1978, will present best senior belt, with Michael Watson MBE, presenting best junior belt. Watson, who was Commonwealth middleweight champion from 1989 to 1991.

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Also attending is Sam Eggington, who was IBO light-middleweight champion in 2022 and previously held the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles from 2015 to 2016, as well as European welterweight title in 2017, and Robin Reid, who held the WBC super-middleweight title from 1996 to 1997 and was IBO super-middleweight champion from 2004 to 2005.

The club was established during the first Covid lockdown in spring 2020 by head coach Ernest Spowart and local entrepreneur Stephen Nicholson as a way of giving something back to the area.

Since then, boxers representing the West Auckland club have competed in competitions and training sessions across the country.

Now the club is hosting its inaugural Annual Home Show on the evening of November 30.

Mr Spowart said: “Everyone is really excited at playing host to some real boxing legends as well as the fighters from clubs across the North East who will be here to compete.

“We are self-funded, but with the support of the community and local businesses, we’ve been able to provide first class facilities, which is paying dividends for our members as they progress in the sport.”

Coach Stephen Nicholson, who is managing director of bespoke decorating firm S Nicholson and Sons, grew up in West Auckland and visited the former Milbank youth club building which had lain empty for four years.

Realising it could be converted into a boxing gym, he purchased the building with the aim of introducing young people in the area to boxing while raising health and fitness levels.

He said: “Holding our first ever Home Show is a real milestone in the development of West Auckland Amateur Boxing Club, and everyone is extremely proud.

“When we first came up with the idea of setting up a boxing gym during the first Covid lockdown, I couldn’t have believed just what a success it would become.”

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