Amateur Boxing to bring social change to young people in Watford

Watford Borough Council collaborates with West Herts ABC for opening event 10 September 2020

Watford Borough Council has teamed up with West Herts ABC to bring fitness, fun and boxing to Watford the home of Boxer Anthony Joshua. 

West Herts Amateur Boxing Club has been set up to use boxing as a tool for social change, positively altering how young people interact with each other and society, as well as using it as a vehicle to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, learning, development and social inclusion of some of the hardest-to-reach and in need young people in Watford.

The club will have a significant positive impact on the local community, providing an outlet for young people to develop and participate, teaching them to box, promoting fitness, discipline, friendship, fair-play and respect for all the community.

The objective is to tackle various issues that surround our local community, including crime, extremism and anti-social behaviour through the medium of Sport.

West Herts ABC want to be able to deliver a National Amateur Boxing club for all abilities, backgrounds and faiths while introducing a healthy lifestyle, with the hope of producing champions from our local community like the Antony Joshua’s and the many more over the past decades.

Located in the heart of Watford on the St Albans Road, the founder of the club Saud Hafiz is a local lad (Head Coach and Director).

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Saud Hafiz, born and bred in Watford

Saud Hafiz was a very well-known amateur boxer who boxed for England and won two national amateur titles. He went on to turn pro and signed a Sky Sports contract with Frank Warren, where he was undefeated. Boxing had been a part of him since he was 13 years old, when he initially pursued the sport after the loss of his father, it has remained his crutch ever since.

Almost 2 years ago now, Mr Hafiz had an Initial meeting with Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor to discuss his aspirations for helping young people by using boxing as the medium, in the same way it had helped him.

Saud Hafiz was then encouraged and supported to apply for funding, where he was successful in community funds such as the Mayor’s Fund and Awards for All.

Mayor Peter Taylor, boxing club, gloves, man,male,men

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said “Watford has a proud history in boxing from the famous Buxton family to Saud and now Anthony Joshua. Aside from the physical and fitness aspects, it is a brilliant sport for harnessing energy, focus and brainpower. Thanks to Saud for all his hard work bringing this great addition to our town.”

Head coach and director, Saud Hafiz said “Having worked with young people for over 15 years I have gained a useful set of skills to raise aspirations and help individuals aim higher. ‘Dream it, believe it and achieve it!’ I live by this saying and I have a firm belief that impossible is nothing.

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 up 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 doesn’t matter if you’ve been beaten or if you’ve failed.  All that matters is you get back up and try again because winning is fun, but winning when nobody thought you would is remarkable. It all starts here at West Herts ABC.”

Sergeant Luke Mitchell, who leads Watford Police’s Community Safety Unit, said: “It is fantastic to be able to welcome ABC to Watford and we look forward to working in partnership with Saud and his team to help even more of the town’s young people make positive decisions about their future.

Our youth crime PCSOs, Daisy and Keith, work closely with children and teenagers in schools across Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere to help divert them away from gang and knife crime, and instead encourage them to engage in constructive activities and hobbies, such as boxing, to help them choose the right path.”

The club will use sport and education as a vehicle to drive change with the main goal being to “knockout extremism and put your knives down, pick up a pair of Gloves”.

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Bob (Robert Williams) is best known for being a referee. Former amateur and professional boxer, Bob has refereed big fights for names such as Burns, Fowler, Selby, Dubois, Smith plus more as well as refereeing over many title fights