Shropshire Star

Dream meeting as boxer meets idol Richie in Telford

Boxer Jarad Madden has had a lifelong ambition to meet his idol Richie Woodhall.

Jarad Madden, Simon Higgins (Head Coach), David Wedge, Harry Newman, Richie Woodhall.

And now fellow boxing fan Patrick Smitheman has made the dream come true with their meeting also giving former WBC super middleweight champion Woodhall the chance to return to his roots.

Patrick, Managing Director of Harwood The Estate Agent, Broseley, heard about Jarad’s aspiration when they were both exercising in the gym.

He knew Richie through his association with Wellington Boxing Academy, where he had sat alongside him at many home shows and said he would investigate whether Richie would do some pad training with Jarad

It came at a time when David Wedge, a long-standing friend of Patrick’s, was also arranging a white-collar charity boxing event to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation.

So Patrick arranged for Richie and a few other boxers to have a meet and greet at ABC Boxing in Madeley.

"The evening went ahead with great success and the great thing was the venue is where Richie began his boxing career.

“It was also two decades since Richie had been back there so the visit brought back loads of memories for him."

One such memory concerned the boxing ring, which Richie’s father had brought to the club 50 years ago.

Richie said: “My dad got it from Hereford ABC. The head coach there was a great guy called Viv Bennet who gave the ring to my dad, but he had to collect it.

“Back in early and mid 70s hardly anyone on Woodside where we lived had transport so my old man asked about and one of the boxers Brian Robb said his dad had a works van.

“So the two of them went over to Hereford to collect the ring. It was fantastic to move around it again and quite emotional really as it laid the foundations for my whole career.

“It’s great to see Telford ABC thriving again and I’d like to wish all the boxers every success in the future.”

Jarad, 24, of Hadley, who is in training for a forthcoming boxing bout, said he couldn’t believe it when Patrick said he knew Richie and that he might be able to arrange an introduction.

“We were just talking casually in the gym and I told him of my interest in the history of boxing since I was little and how I would love to meet Richie.

“When Richie came along to the boxing club in Madeley in his spare time he not only did some pad work with me, but gave me pointers including certain boxing fundamentals and advice on style.

“As well as the dedication, there is a thrill that comes with boxing for it is very rewarding to see your progress.”

Jarad, who is in warehouse management, added: “Richie told me to be proud of myself – to credit myself.

"I am fortunate to do something I have always wanted to do.

“I think Richie loved coming along – it took him back to his roots. He couldn’t believe the ring was still the same as when it was put up by his dad all those years ago.”

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