DENTON’S Russell Scott Primary is one of 20 schools in Tameside that are boxing clever to keep their children out of trouble.
They have signed up for an after-school initiative run by former boxer Danny Hornsby, which instils discipline as well as teaching new skills, building confidence and self-belief together with promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Danny, who runs the Little Rockys sessions which are run in conjunction with Tameside Council sports development, admitted boxing helped transform his life.
Stalybridge-based Danny said: “I was a naughty kid and in a lot of trouble – I went to five senior schools.
“I was going down the wrong path but boxing helped me from being a troubled youth and was something I became good at. It helped turn my life full circle.
“As I have been in trouble. I can relate to children and speak to them on a level basis.”
Danny, who had six amateur bouts before injury forced him to retire from the ring, formed Little Rockys 18 months ago which initially were boxing camps held during school holidays.
They quickly “snowballed” according to Danny, whose brother Austin was a former professional boxer, who was then asked to work with schools, both primary and secondary with Rockys Seniors.
Russell Scott have booked Danny, who still coaches as a volunteer at Tameside Elite Boxing Club, for the whole academic year but other schools generally are for a term or half a term.
Danny’s session are tailored for different age groups with those in senior school promote ‘Gloves Up, Knives Down’, an initiative also backed by Anthony Crolla, Ricky and Matthew Hatton and Stacey Copeland.
He said: “We tell youngsters why boxing can help them, focusing as a hobby but also mentioning how it improves mental health.
“We also speak about the knife problem epidemic which is often drug related with people carrying knives for protection.“That can end with them going to prison and we speak about the consequences of their actions.”
Danny works with years three and four and also years five and six at Russell Scott where a typical non-contact session includes skipping and other training drills including shadow boxing and punching on pads.
It is about having fun, though the youngsters also learn a new boxing move each week.
Danny, a former pupil at West Hill High School, Stalybridge, and Longdendale High School, said the feedback to his sessions has been “five star”.
“The children love it and schools keep asking us to come back,” explained Danny who fought at Mottram and Hattersley Boxing Club and Louvolite Boxing Club, Hyde.