West Herts Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) will offer two extra weekly sessions for disadvantaged children following a £5,000 council grant.

The funding is courtesy of Watford Borough Council's Neighbourhood Grant initiative.

The boxing club, founded in 2020 by Saud Hafiz, will now target children and young adults aged 11 to 19 –  extending to 25 years old for those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) – who have newly moved into the Callowland and Central Watford area.

The goal is to provide a positive outlet for disadvantaged youngsters facing isolation, loneliness, and susceptibility to negative influences.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: "Watford has a proud history in boxing from the famous Buxton family to Saud and the latest generation of Anthony Joshua, Shannon Courtenay, and Shannon Ryan.

"Aside from the physical and fitness aspects, it is a brilliant sport for harnessing energy, focus and brainpower.

"Thanks to Saud's efforts and the grant received, West Herts ABC will have the opportunity to improve upon their existing services."

Saud Hafiz and Mayor TaylorSaud Hafiz and Mayor Taylor (Image: Watford Borough Council)

West Herts ABC remain committed to utilising boxing as an avenue for positive change in Watford.

The club not only aims for physical wellbeing improvement but also promotes further values including discipline, camaraderie, and respect.

Former amateur boxer Hafiz, who represented England and secured two national titles, is well acquainted with the life-altering power of boxing.

Hafiz's passion for boxing originated when he was 13 as a coping mechanism after the death of his father.

He said: "I was born and bred in Watford, spending most of my childhood time on the Radlett Road Estate.

"Life was hard at times; my trials and tribulations began from the age of 12 when my father passed away.

"Thankfully, boxing opened a pathway of confidence, courage, and a sense of belonging.

"The discipline and sacrifices involved were huge, but it made me who I am today, a winner.

"I want to help our community in getting people from all walks of life to dream it, believe it and achieve it.

"It all starts here at West Herts ABC and thanks to the grant we can offer boxing to even more people."

The next round of funding for the Neighbourhood Grant has now started.

The initiative is funded by the Community Infrastructure Levy from new housing developers and operates annually to mitigate the developmental impact while fostering sustainable growth in the community.

For further information, including this year's projects, visit watford.gov.uk/community.