A Brixton teenager who dreams of emulating Britain’s top boxers has become the first person at his local boxing club to win a national tournament at amateur level.
Joel Joseph, who is 15 and trains at Afewee, triumphed in a challenging bout in Liverpool against West Counties-based fighter Tom Brunn. Both fighters were competing in the 75 to 80kg category of the Junior Cadet Division of the National Amateur Boxing Championship.
Joseph, who has trained for one year at Afewee under the tutelage of head coach Bobby Miltiadous, is considered to be one of the club’s most promising young prospects.
The club, which initially began life as a non-contact boxing project in 2014, recently secured a permanent space for a new boxing gym at the Brixton Rec following a hard fought campaign. More than a thousand local residents signed a petition coordinated by the Brixton Rec Users Group in support of Afewee’s plea for a permanent space.
“This club have really helped me to get to where I am today and I’m really happy to be a national amateur boxing champion”, says Joseph.
“I fought in my first bout last year at a tournament in Islington. I was nervous and it was kind of scary because it was my first time in front of a big crowd.
“I can recall getting really tired in that fight and feeling scared that I might lose. When I won it made it made me feel more confident in myself.
“Coaches at Afewee have been teaching me discipline in the ring and it’s really helped. I had been training for three years before I came here and I was actually thinking of stopping because I was bored. I’m glad I made the decision to keep going.
“I train five times a week after school and I’ve gotten used to fitting my training around my home work and studies. I see boxing as my future.”
Afewee founder Steadman Scott hailed Joseph’s success and hopes it will be the first of many tournament wins for the young boxer.
“We are very proud of Joel and what he has achieved since he joined us”, said Scott.
“We have a new gym here at the Rec, a place where young boxers can have a space to try and realise their dreams.
‘We want to use our space to coach many more young champions like Joel and give them self-worth and self-belief through boxing.”