TWO young boxers are some of the first success stories from a club that is going from strength to strength in Rainford.

Despite forming just three years ago, Rainford Boxing Academy has attracted a respected reputation in the borough and offers boxing and fitness sessions to adults and athletes as young as four-years-old.

The Academy has been launched by experienced boxer and coach Dan Leeson, and although the club is only in its second season, it has been earning some impressive victories and championships.

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St Helens Star: Rainford Boxing Academy has been earning some impressive winsRainford Boxing Academy has been earning some impressive wins (Image: Dan Leeson)
One of the boxers who have helped to grow the Academy's status is Sam Thornton, who despite only having his first fight just over 12 months ago, is now a national champion in his weight division.

Wanting to get into the sport for a while, the reset of the pandemic encouraged Sam to find a club, and with Dan at the helm, Rainford Academy felt like the perfect fit.

After just a few fights, the 16-year-old became the Merseyside and Cheshire champion in early October, and successive victories mean that he is now the English boxing development champion in the 54kg weight.

St Helens Star: Mark and Sam have become regional and national championsMark and Sam have become regional and national champions (Image: Dan Leeson)


Sam's mum Emma said: "Sam's made up that he has become national champion, but he's very driven and it's just onto the next fight for him.

"He trains six days a week - and runs five miles to the gym - while also studying for his A-Levels, so we are very proud of his achievement and commitment.

"Dan has been amazing with him and has encouraged him to help out with the younger boxers and adult classes, so he really has come on leaps and bounds."

Another exciting young boxer is Mark Dockerty, who similar to Sam, has not long had his first amateur fight, and also became Merseyside and Cheshire champion in the 75kg weight category.

St Helens Star: Sam and Mark's success has inspired others at the clubSam and Mark's success has inspired others at the club (Image: Emma Thornton)

Speaking about the two champions and the club, Dan said: "I saw something in Sam and Mark, as I do with a lot of people, and I have just pushed them to reach their potential.

"It's great because others are coming to the club now and knowing they can do that too, it gives them something to strive for."

Speaking about the club in general, he added: "I'm very passionate about what I do, and I can be quite old school, but it really is like a big happy family here.

"I don't just teach people how to box, I teach them how to behave, and we've had great feedback from how our members behave outside of the gym too.

"I've boxed all my life and I wanted to teach people everything that I have learned about boxing, so to have this feedback and the success we have had has been great."