Former professional boxer, Wayne Downing, is helping the next generation of pugilists.
The 36 year-old, who had a 20-fight, five year pro career, is now Company Director/Partner at Oldbury-based scaffolding firm, Alliance. Through Downing, Alliance sponsor boxing brothers Joshua and Tom Stokes with the latter also now employed by the Black Country company.
Downing has a long association with the Stokes brothers. Tom used to accompany Downing into the ring and, since turning professional, Downing has kept a close eye on his young protégés career.
“I’ve know Tommy, and Josh, a long time,” explained Downing. “I helped train them as kids and they watched my pro career with interest.
“I enjoyed my boxing career. I fought some good fighters like Ahmet Patterson, Curtis Woodhouse and Ronnie Heffron. I’ve watched Tom grow as a boxer from an amateur to a real prospect in the pro game. He will go far; much further than me.
“Tom has been working for Alliance for the last six months or so. He’s a hard working lad and we’ve sponsored him ever since he joined the company. It’s a good way to put a little bit back into the sport and also gets our name out there.”
Downing, along with Stokes’ co-workers, will be ringside at the Holiday Inn Birmingham tonight as the West Bromwich middleweight goes in search of a first title. The 21 year-old takes on Plymouth’s Cristian Hoskin-Gomez for the British Challenge Title at the Holiday Inn Birmingham on Black Country Boxing’s ‘Festive Fight Night’ show.
Stokes, who weighed-in at the Grosvenor Casino Walsall alongside Hoskin-Gomez, is up for the challenge.
“I’m feeling strong and ready to go,” Stokes added. “I’ve had a great camp and thanks to Wayne and Alliance for all their help. They’ve sponsored me, given me some time off work and paid for my medicals and fit kit. It’s a big help.
“I’m all weighed in now and ready to go. Cristian is a game kid who lifted a version of this belt in his hometown recently so he knows what tomorrow all is all about. I’m confident though and am convinced I will win this and move on to bigger things next year.”
Stokes and Hoskin-Gomez tops tonight’s three-fight dinner show at the Holiday Inn Birmingham. Former Team GB star, Ekow Essuman, makes his pro debut and Wednesbury welterweight, Sam Evans, is also in action. Former WBO World Champion, Steve Collins, is also a guest speaker. Limited places are still available for the show, which includes a two-course meal, by calling 07572 675 210.