The story so far . . . .
The 'Daggers' - as they are now known, were founded
in 1950 (according to paper records). Originally in the grounds of the old school - now a 6th Form college we had a very promising start. The late Johnny Maloney was our 1st National ABA Champion in the season 1950/51 at Welter weight (67kg) winning by 2nd round stoppage against Anthony Bird (Army), then going on to a 2nd successive National Title triumph in the following season - 1951/52, beating Les Morgan (Rotax) where all 10 National Champions became Olympians in the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games (no medals were won). Both Titles came in front of packed Wembley Arena Crowds - very different to these days. In around 1979 we moved into the 'Old Boat House' in Wood Lane, on the Borough’s boundary with Havering. It was another good move and the catchments seemed to attract lads from all over North East London and West Essex.
Unfortunately Johnny Maloney ABA Championship Title win was the last Senior Title the club managed since those promising early days, but we've had a fair share of Youth, Junior and SchoolBoy Title’s though - perhaps most notably Kevin Mitchell’s capture of all four Schoolboy Titles (2 at Hornchurch) - the final Title being won on home soil at the Broadway Theatre, Barking in March 2001. Kevin went on to win virtually everything on offer - including a National Senior ABA Title at the age of just 18 years, when he switched for a final season at West Ham Boys ABC. It was still a magnificent win which Dagenham ABC are very much proudly associated with. Since Kevin's switch to the Professional World of boxing he has enjoyed continued success - going a staggering 29 fights unbeaten and winning British & Commonwealth Super Featherweight Titles, and an unsuccessful World Title challenge to Ricky Burns. Younger brother Vincent follows in the same footsteps as an undefeated Pro.
Other big names for Dagenham include Bobby Ward - another multi-titlist (Junior) and the last British boxer to hand defeat to Amir Khan as an amateur, and the Likes of James Cole (2 Titles), and not forgetting the 'old boy' - Alan Southwick (Senior ABA Semi Finalist) - beaten only by Reptons Olympian Courtney Fry. More recently young Michael McCarthy - an ex Newham boxer, trained by father Gary McCarty at Dagenham, won Junior ABA, NACYP and 4 Nations Titles winning 20 fights in a row. He's gone on to enjoy Senior success at Repton where he recently reached the ABA semis. Other fairly recent National Champions include Ronnie Legg, Billy Newman. Denzil Bell reached the Schoolboy finals (at Goresbrook, Dagenham), and Conquest reached the same stage of the Senior ABA’s as Alan Southwick (Semi Finals). Tony is currently an undefeated Professional, and will soon be bidding for the Souther Area Cruiser weight Title. In more recent years, Kerim Agius was crowned Junior ABA Champion 2013/2014 - whilst his kid brother Tariq Agius was crowned National Schools ABA Champion for 2015. We expect both these brothers to grab far more Honours in the coming years. George Landers, Conor McNicholas (Club Captain) and Louie Taylor have all reached the latter stages of the Schools ABA's, NABC's and the Junior ABA's - but all have just missed out on a Final place.
Most recently, Lawrence Okolie qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by winning the European qualifying competition at Heavyweight, as a relative Novice with just over 20 contests under his belt. The Hackney lad is a real prospect for Team GB, with his eyes currently focussed on next years AIBA World Championships.
Champions of 'Yesteryear' . . .
Other notable names the club will never forget are Johnny Durrell Jnr, former Junior and Schoolboy Champion trained by his father of the same name, Micky Foster - Schoolboy Champion 1977 (and 1978 with Barking) and England Rep. Graham Poulley - Schoolboy Champion 1971 & 1973 and England Rep. Jamie Godfrey - SchoolBoy Champion 1975, 1976 & 1977. Danny Thompson - Schoolboy Champion 1975 (and Dagenham Coach 2002-2006). Ross Brain - Schoolboy Champion 1977 (and 1978 with Barking). Craig Cartlege & Orrie Jones - Schoolboy Champions 1979. Wayne George - SchoolBoy Champion 1983 (Brother Dean now one of our former crop of coaches). Robert Boorman - SchoolBoy Champion 1989.
On the Coaching side of things the O'Sullivan brothers (Dan, Sean and Brendon) have been the backbone for nearly 20 years. Danny took over as Chairman in 1994 on the departure of top coach Mark Massow who joined the Para's after holding the club together for a few years. Danny, Sean & Brendon rarely work together but laid the foundations and structure of a well disciplined gym. Brendon worked in Nursery group (known to most as the 'Winkles') with old club stalwart Keith Mills. Old Timer and Ex-Boxers Association member Billy 'The Ice Man' Graydon lends a hand once a week and has also become an integral part of the club set up (aswell as our very own club mascot!). Sean had charge of the formidable 'Junior' squad from around 1995 until very recently where he enjoyed unequalled success. With a young family, Sean took a deserved break from the game - but is now back to create more Champions, back working in the ‘Junior’ section of the club. Interestingly, Sean handled no fewer than 15 National Finalist's in those years and with averages of more than 1 Champion per season (Kevin Mitchell was the best he ever worked with!). The reigns for the 'junior' squad were then held for a few years by another ex Dagenham Boxer - Nicky Nunn, who started churning out Champions - Ronnie Legg - Golden Belt 2006 & Billy Newman - Golden Belt 2007. Dean George and Mick Hall worked with Nicky in continuing the conveyer belt that is Dagenham Boxing Club. Then the reigns were taken by ex Gator boxer - Ian Chegwidden for a couple of years, where a very decent ‘Junior’ squad was developed. More recently, Sean has teamed up with ex Daggers triple champion James Cole, and ex Beacon ABC Champion - Spencer Landers and the Juniors are now producing regular National level boxers. 'Coley' has very quickly established himself as an incredibly talented young Coach since retiring from his own decorated ring career. James shared the ring with no fewer than 4 Olympians, winning 3 National titles along the way. Spencer has also been a huge boost to the clubs coaching team. Both recently qualified as Level 2 Full National Coaches.
Dan has always looked after the ‘Seniors’ where we've enjoyed a mixed bag of success - having trouble finding that elusive Senior Champion. Having been Matchmaker/Chairman for 12 years and Honorary Secretary for most of that time the club enjoyed Novice Finalist's in Alan Southwick & Michael Lawrence but never managed any kind of National Title. Southwick was best he has worked with alongside Tony Conquest and Robin Dupre'. Senior Coaches - Mark Patrick, Pete Weeks, Jay Carter and Paul Barrie currently make up the Senior Coaching Team. Top Coach - Jack Lee and son Danny had a couple of seasons with us but the distance put paid to that. Dan now Coaches in the ever improving 'Winkles' and the Senior group.
'Behind the Scenes' - the most important part of the clubs existence is Dee O'Sullivan. She has handled the club book keeping for over 18 years (assisted by joint Treasurer - KP Mills). She makes sure that there's a healthy balance and also keeps on top of the 'Subs' and any other financial matters. Most will know Jim O'Sullivan - notorious with referees in the South Each/London area. Jim was the long time matchmaker for the club in what I’d call the heydays. Jim, who now helps out in the 'Senior' section, virtually built the current gym in the Heathway, Dagenham himself when we moved from the Old Boat House in 1995. Keith Mills, another Daggers stalwart who has Coached in the Winkles since the very early days, and held the Chairmans position for 2 years. is also the clubs only qualified Referee/Judge. He also holds the position as Divisional Assistant Secretary, and appoints all officials for the Divisions many shows. Our new gym (not so new now) is a superb & massive facility, and since a recent Sport England funded refurbishment boasts a brand new sport floor, with 2 full size boxing rings, 18 hanging bags, 2 speed balls, 2 floor-to-ceiling balls and free weights. The club has so much potential and we hope that our new Chairman is the man to keep the momentum going (Paul Barrie). Paul has been instrumental in sourcing funding for our ever-growing team of boxers, whilst helping to carve out that Senior ABA Champion.
Our current Competition Secretaries (Matchmakers) are Jimmy Bush and Jason Gullefer (another ex Daggers boxer) who are the driving force behind our ‘Junior’ & 'Senior' boxers. Jimmy is also a qualified Coach and Judge (but he rarely judges). Jim worked with father Bill Bush for a while at the club but Bill is now enjoying retirement. Former star amateur - Mark Patrick spent 12 years in the Senior section (but switched clubs recently), plus Paul Barrie & young Coach Jay Carter - both very quickly establishing themselves as highly competent Coaches.
Former long serving Club President - Jim Butler, recently passed away after a battle with cancer. Jim, who had been enjoying life in the beauty of Cornwall (Looe), but did travel down to us a few times each year to give us some words of wisdom and some of his incredible knowledge of the clubs history. Jim was be laid to rest at Corbets Tey, Upminster on Monday 11th February 2016. Jim O'Sullivan is the clubs new Honorary President.
As Honorary Secretary (again) - Dan O’Sullivan deals with the day-to-day running of the club. Others who have shared these roles over the years include Steve Harris (now with Southend), whose son Jamie will be remembered as one of the clubs best boxers NOT to win a National Title. Steve, and wife Kay moved out into the deep of Essex and so switched to a nearer club. Dan, who also moved out into Essex more recently, still Coaches in the Senior section and also in the 'Winkles' - where youngest son Tate has taken to the sport like a duck to water. Watch this space.
Dan proudly held the mic as the London2012 Olympic MC (as can be seen from the above video clip). Dan now spends most of his time as MC at the many shows and championships around the country. Dan was also recently awarded 'Freedom of the London borough of Barking & Dagenham' for his dedication to the Community.
The club is without doubt - one of the friendliest in the country. We travel all over the world (Florida, USA - South Africa - Denmark . . . ) and try to give our boxers every opportunity possible. Our committee offer all kinds of support and are always willing to move forward with the times. It's a club we are very proud of - a club which offers great opportunities to all involved.
The Club holds regular Committee meetings offering opportunities for volunteers to help us achieve our goal of providing a world class facility - with world class Coaching and support, maximising the chances of our boxers success.
A recent Full Club refurbishment now offers a facility which is fit-for-purpose and top quality spec. Great detail has gone into constantly developing the right kit, equipment and support tailored with some of the best Coaches in the country.
At Dagenham (PC) Boxing Club - you can expect to be treated equally. Every member gets the same opportunities - if they're willing to put in the graft . . . . .
The 'Daggers'- Dagenham Amater Boxing Club - Onwards and Upwards .