Shay Bell, 15, who is in Year 11 at Plympton Academy, which is a member of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, was crowned champion of the National Junior Boxing Alliance Novice for England earlier this month.
It took weeks of preparation for the moment, but Shay says his win has encouraged him to look at what’s next for his sporting career.
He said: “I am absolutely buzzing about the win. Now I am looking at what’s next for me as a boxer.
“Most people get nervous when they are in the boxing ring, but that didn’t bother me too much. I worked out my opponent before fighting them. By working out how he performs in the ring, I could tailor my tactics around that, which gave me less pressure for the tournament.”
The champion had a match three weeks before his November win in Bristol. After winning that game, he went straight into training in preparation for the England game.
The Amateur Boxing Alliance is run by volunteers who are interested in the sport in their regions and want to help grassroots boxing.
Speaking about the support offered by family, friends, and Plympton Academy, Shay said: “I’m so grateful to everyone for supporting me throughout my boxing journey.
“From my family taking me to London for fights to friends coming to my games to cheer me on, especially when times were tough, it’s appreciated.
“The Academy has been really supportive of my progress, and everyone has been asking me about what I am going through. Mr. Edmonds has done boxing before, so he has been talking to me at least once a week about what’s happening.”
Shay will continue to engage with the amateur championships across the country, before seeking opportunities within professional tournaments across Europe.
When asked about how to keep motivated during tough times, the fighter said: “There will be times when you are training so hard and the wins within your fights just aren’t coming in. But don’t give up on what you’re working hard on. If you are motivated, you will get to where you want to be.”
Lisa Boorman, Principal at the Plympton Academy, praised Shay for his achievements to date.
She said: “At Plympton Academy, one of our five core principles is about encouraging individuals to be equipped to achieve their dreams and take pride in their success. Shay is a shining example of this. He has worked tremendously hard to become the National Junior Boxing Alliance Novice Champion for England, so this recognition is well deserved for him.
“The community at Plympton Academy is focused on inspiring a culture of success for all. Whether that’s about boxing and other sports, performing arts, STEM subjects, or even something else, I’m excited to hear many more success stories about our fantastic students.”