BOXING has arrived in Caithness thanks to the dedication and hard work of a Wick pugilist who has been forced to undertake 200-mile round trips to further his career.
Caithness Boxing Club is to launch next month under the guidance of head coach Liall Mackenzie, who has made it to the top level of Scottish amateur boxing. It is the first such club to be established in the county in over half-a-century.
Mackenzie has won the Scottish Novice Championship and progressed through the intermediate and open divisions before turning professional last year.
The 28-year-old wants to give others the opportunity to get involved in a sport which has given so much to him.
“Having boxed for over four years and having had to travel to Inverness once per week, it means so much to me to be a part of something that provides the people of Caithness this opportunity,” he said.
“It hasn’t been an easy process. There have been many people involved in getting this off the ground.”
The club is open to adults and kids and will be based in Wick Assembly Rooms.
Mackenzie has helped establish the club with the help of boxing coach Laurie Redfern and the club’s new committee, William Lindsay, Lewis Mackenzie and Rachel Jones. High Life Highland’s east Caithness active school coordinator Aileen Simmonite has also helped the club get under way.
She said: “Liall approached us about the idea and after a year we are now up and running.
“It is a new venture in Caithness and it is the sort of sport that will appeal to different kids.”
The club is affiliated to Boxing Scotland which means its members can enter tournaments across the country.
Mackenzie hopes the venture will unearth new boxing stars in Caithness to compete at amateur level and perhaps, like him, to turn professional.
He said: “The club can help boxers compete in the Scottish Novice and Intermediate Championships and then on to the open championships.
“If you’re getting to the stage where you are winning open championships, boxers can then go on to represent Scotland fighting internationally and potentially be selected for the Commonwealth Games.”
Caithness Boxing Club is holding an open night on Wednesday, April 5 between 6pm and 8pm.
The first under-16 session will be held on Wednesday, April 12 and an over-16 session is being staged on Thursday, April 13.
For more information visit the Caithness Boxing Club Facebook site.