Brotherley competition is something boxer Josh Wale knows all about and he is seeing it in the ‘fearless’ Hughes brothers.
The quartet of Rocco, 11 Johnson, 12, Sonny, 13, and Marshall, 15, all boxed on the same show for their club Micky’s Athletic last week.
They could not quite make it a full house of victories with Rocco the only one tasting defeat by the narrowest of margins. Sonny and Johnson have had success in athletics – winning national and regional titles for long distance running. Brampton’s Wale, 31, himself one of three boxing brothers, sees some familiarities between himself and the Darfield foursome who he helps to train.
He said: “They are good sportsmen and good at whatever they turn their hands to. They’re absolutely fearless and can just fight. It was brilliant to have all four box on the same night. Rocco lost on a split decision but it was a close bout. “The age gap is not as big as it is with my brothers but I know that they drive one another on. They’re competing with one another
“Before training starts, they all go for a run and they’re always the first ones back. Then they train hard on the circuits. They’re the sort of kids you have to hold back rather than push harder.”
The quartet of Hughes brothers are part of a big family with five other siblings. Wale knows there is more to come. He said: “It clearly runs in the family and I’m sure the younger ones will be in the gym soon.
“Fair play to their dad who drives them about and encourages them. They’re at boxing on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at athletics Tuesday and Thursday and usually running at the weekend too.”
The Hughes brothers are spearheading the Wale gym’s growing amateur section which has, in the past, produced professionals in Neil Beevers and Brad Botham as well as Josh and his two brothers Gwyn and Dempsey. Their premises at the Empress Ballroom in Mexborough are the biggest they have ever been based at in a nomadic decade which has seen them set up shop around the Dearne area and even at one point in a building at the bottom of Josh’s dad Mick’s back garden.
“The gym is buzzing,” added former British bantamweight champion Josh. “We have got 18 carded boxers and we are really busy. Next year the aim is to get 20-odd carded. It’s the ideal gym set-up and it has the potential to go massive. I still have two or three years myself in boxing and some big nights left in me but this is the future and the backbone of the club.”
Also in action for the club were Archie Storey, George Sanderson and Billy Panther. The Hughes brothers also enjoyed success at the South Yorkshire Cross Country League in Campsall. Sonny Boy won the under 15s boys’ category with Jonson the under 17 winner, ahead of runner-up Rocco.
Barnsley Star enjoyed amateur success of their own with two winners in the away corner. Daniel Koe won the battle of the first-timers against Grimsby’s Ollie Kendall on a show in Cleethorpes on Sunday. Muleta Muleta had kicked off the weekend in good style for the town centre club with a win over Darius Aire in Leeds.