Out to punch for northern youth

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 25, 2011
The victorious Leeds boxing squad

The victorious Leeds boxing squad

A white collar boxing night in Leeds packed a financial punch with £42,000 raised for youth facilities at the Zone centre and Manchester Maccabi. The Leeds v Manchester showdown at Leeds United's Elland Road ground ended in a 4-1 victory for the hosts' Jewish boxers. However, the visiting fighters did not lack backing, with 150 people among the 500 crowd having travelled across the Pennines.

Victorious Leeds boxer Danny "the Lion" Goldstone, 25, said he had been training five nights a week for three months after talk of serious competition from his Manchester opponent.

"We Jews like to fress but I've been having tiny meals and I couldn't go out or drink during training," he confided. Having boxed since he was 14, he would recommend it to teenagers. "I'd say to kids that if you don't want to do the fighting, do the training - it's the best thing for any kid."

Manchester's victor was 17-year-old Rafi Lewis, who trains at the Bridgewater club in Salford.

Bridgewater trainer Lee Whitehead has seen a "renaissance" of Jewish interest, with around one-third of the club's 75 members from the community.

"A lot of guys attend the boxercise class, which is non-contact keep-fit. But a few of the guys are putting themselves forward for fights.

"Typical Jewish guys say they are not very good at sports, but it's only a mindset of the Whitefield and south Manchester Jewish bubble. I ask them how come in the '30s Jewish boxers were so good?"

Last updated: 10:03am, March 25 2011