Former champ looks to inspire next generation

GIVING BACK: Former Commonwealth and British super middleweight champion David Starie
GIVING BACK: Former Commonwealth and British super middleweight champion David Starie

FORMER Commonwealth and British super middleweight champion David Starie has revealed the commitment shown by Eastgate Amateur Boxing Club’s coaches has inspired him to give something back.

The Bury St Edmunds-born fighter enjoyed a stellar career, rising through the ranks from the country’s best amateur to hold both the Commonwealth and British titles in 1998 with victories over Clinton Woods and Ali Forbes before going on to fight Joe Calzaghe for the world title in 2000, losing narrowly on points.

The 38-year-old, who retired in 2003 following another world title points defeat to Sven Ottke, is now looking to turn his hand to coaching and has started to pass on his knowledge and wisdom to youngsters once a week at the Rougham-based club alongside veteran coach Mick Bryant.

Speaking of his decision to become involved with the club, Starie conceded it was the dedication of Bryant and fellow coaches that had inspired him to start repaying his ‘debt’ owed to the region.

“I know the club extremely well and I have been influenced by the trainers’ dedication and commitment towards young people and that has inspired me to get involved,” he said.

“They give up their lives for the kids and that has made me look at myself and now I desperately want to be a part of that.

“I want to help better these youngsters not only as boxers but as young people, because we can help change lives. The club has been doing that for a long time and I am really excited to get involved and prove my commitment.

“I have a lot of experience and I want to pass that on and help them develop in any way I can.

“The people of Bury St Edmunds and Suffolk were the ones who supported me throughout my career the most and I owe them a great debt, I want to give something back.

“I’m not here to be the main man, I’m here to help assist the fantastic trainers the club have and continue the fantastic work they do.”

The club members returned to training this month ahead of the new season, including Starie’s son Matthew, and despite only being involved a short while, the man known as ‘Jedi’ has already seen enough to believe there is the potential to produce a future champion to follow in his footsteps.

“They have some great talent up there,” he added.

“Any of the young lads could follow in my footsteps, they just need to have the main ingredients of commitment and dedication and they could become a champion.

“There are certainly good times ahead for this club and I’m excited to be a small cog in the process, alongside the fantastic coaches, to help create some great boxers for the future.”