Preston boxer, Lisa Whiteside won her first Commonwealth Gold medal at the weekend and coaches from her former club have been singing her praises.Advertisement
Chorley-born Lisa, who made her Commonwealth debut this year, trained at Preston’s Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club before moving on to JR Gym to concentrate on her Team GB career.
And professional boxing coaches, Dave Fitzgerald and Jimmy Moon, remember just what she was like when she trained with them at the Catforth Road club.
Dave, who co-owns Larches and Savick ABC, said: “I coached Lisa at Larches and Savick for about four years, probably more thinking about it.
“When she started training with us she had a long way to go in terms of skill but she steadily improved and won her first title under the club’s name.
“Over the years she continued to progress and won four ABA titles with us, a European silver and a silver in the World Championships.
“I remember we took her to the ABA finals (now England Boxing) in 2015 where she was supposed to fight Nicola Adams, who was number one at the time.
“Lisa was in the best form I’d ever seen her at these competitions and I had no doubt she would’ve beaten Adams in the final.
“However, Adams pulled out at the last minute.
“Even though Lisa ended up winning anyway, it would’ve been great had she taken the top spot from Adams.
“It’s a shame really as she’s always been in Adam’s shadow, but now she’s won Commonwealth Gold, so every credit to her.”
Unlike many boxers of her stature, Lisa, who turns 33 this year, was not originally a product of the GB system, or the schools’ youth system, and came into boxing at a later stage in her life.
Dave continued: “She came up the ranks through us, and I think a lot of her success can be attributed to the training she received in her early years with all the coaches at our club.”
And from sparring sessions with fellow Commonwealth Gold medallist, Scott Fitzgerald, to twice a day, one-to-one sessions with Dave, the Preston lass has certainly travelled a long way to finally gain the success she deserves, beating Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul on Australia’s Gold Coast last Saturday.
Read more: How Larches boxing club is building a cult following
Jimmy Moon, co-owner of the Ashton club, said: “As a boxer I remember Lisa being very good, she was a very aggressive fighter and she was very determined.
“From our point of view, we brought her on a long way.
“I knew she was going to get where she wanted to be though; I knew she’d win a gold medal eventually.
“We’re all very proud of her.”
Having spent so much time with Lisa before she parted ways with the club, Dave felt like he needed to congratulate her in person and sent her a message immediately after her victory on Saturday.
He said: “I’d not spoken to Lisa in a while, so I thought I’d send her a message after her win to tell her how proud I was of her.
“She was chuffed to bits and we’ll be meeting up for a brew once she gets back from Australia.”
The seven times National Champion and World Silver Medallist told BBC Sport: “I am absolutely made up. It shows to everyone at home, follow your dreams and believe to achieve.”
Larches and Savick ABC is situated on Catforth Road, Ashton. For more information about coaching sessions and boxing classes, visit www.larchesandsavickboxing.org.uk