ST Joseph’s Boxing Club will have 11 fighters in action at the Welsh Box Cup in Cardiff this weekend.

The Welsh Amateur Boxing Association are staging the event at the Welsh Institute of Sport from Friday through to Sunday with a big contingent heading to the capital from the Pill-based club.

Gabriel Williams, Gary Buckland, Zayn Burke, Axel Hegarty, Serhat Aksoy, Michael McDonagh, Sean Ward, Orlando Sotomi, Patrick Bilongo, Pavel Ziga and Logan Hegarty will be competing in Cardiff, a useful test as they prepare for November’s Welsh National Championships.

It is a welcome return to action for the famous club who had to adapt during the pandemic.

With the doors firmly closed the club coaches, including stalwarts Roger Williams and Bill Reynolds, decided to use a number of Newport’s landmarks as makeshift gyms in the summer of 2020.

This included gruelling runs up Belle Vue Lane, circuit training under George Street Bridge and group sessions at the nearby Pill Harriers rugby pitch.

However, training sessions were more challenging in the winter so the gym turned to online learning.

Relatively new coaches Zhivago Greaux and Abdullah Ahmed, who have recently completed exams with WABA, are computer literate and members were able to take part in hour-long training sessions online four nights a week.

When normal training resumed at the George Street gym, there was no shortage of competitive sparring, putting their fitness levels to the test against determined opponents who have trained and prepared with equal diligence.