Beds, Herts & Bucks

Young offenders in Bedford helped by former boxer

A former world champion boxer has been coaching violent young offenders in Bedfordshire as part of a programme to help them change their behaviour.

Glenn "Catman" Catley, former Super Middleweight World Champion, is the first in a line of professional boxers who will coach the 12 young men.

The £18,000 six-week course is being held at the Robinson Pool Gym, Bedford.

It is backed by the borough council, police, the youth offending service and the World Boxing Council.

The course will include gym training, boxing techniques, nutrition, awareness of substance abuse and bullying.

There will also be sessions in citizenship and community responsibility.

Mr Catley said: "Some of these guys, they come in here and they think the world owes them something and I just want to get the message across - nobody owes them nothing.

"I like to think I'm proof that with guts, dedication and desire - all those attributes - I cracked it and became champion of the world."

One of the participants Liam Daniels said: "If someone comes up to me and wants a fight now I haven't got time for it."

Other boxing stars including Olympic Bronze Medallist, former European Champion and World Amateur Finalist, Bobby George will attend the gym sessions.

The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: "Sporting Chances offers these young men a positive sporting experience, giving them the chance to break the cycle of crime by discovering the benefits of sporting achievement."

Ch Insp Rob McCaffray, of Bedfordshire Police, said: "This is just one of the many initiatives which Bedfordshire Police is working on to combat serious violent behaviour.

"Over the past year there has been a 3% drop in anti-social behaviour and we would like to continue to see it fall. "

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