The Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) was formed in 1881 and the first championships were held at Wembley in the same year. During its heydey in the 1950s and 1960s thousands of youngsters climbed through the ropes in schools and amateur boxing clubs up and down the country. In 1970 Britain boasted 30,000 registered boxers. Today the figure has dwindled to a few thousand and in recent years local authorities have caved in to pressure to withdraw support for school boxing and banned the sport from council premises.
These photographs were taken at ABA competitions in pubs and working men’s clubs across the North of England between 1997 – 1999. They follow some of the youngest boxers in the amateur ranks (age eleven is the legal age when a child can first compete), some who were entering the ring for the first time.
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