altMarch 27 - British Boxing are to continue to base themselves in Sheffield as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympics and to try to repeat their success at last year's Games in Beijing, it was announced today.


Boxing had been based at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in the city preparing for the Beijing Games.


James DeGale returned with a gold medal, with team captain David Price and Tony Jeffries taking bronze medals. 


All have since turned professional and are not eligible to compete at the Olympics in 2012.


Sheffield City Council will contribute financially to the venue hire costs for the sport over the next two years.


It has also committed additional financial support should boxing bring multinational training camps to the city ahead of London 2012.


Under the new deal, which follows an increase in the sport’s funding from UK Sport after success in China, the Bitish Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) will significantly step up its operations based on the facilities at the EIS and the partnership support available in the city.


New performance director Kevin Hickey will oversee an expanded programme for the elite and development squads.


Other innovations will include the development of master classes featuring current and past stars of the sport, stepping up of coaching and evaluation teams – with a focus on new training methods, strengthening and conditioning and increased involvement with the EIS athletic services team headed up by Peter Elliott, the 1988 Olympic 1500 metres silver medallist.


altDerek Mapp (pictured), the BABA chairman, said: “Sheffield and our base at the English Institute of Sport will be a high performance centre of excellence which will capture the attention of the rest of the world and with the capacity to deliver what the sport want s – success in 2012.


“Following successful discussions with Sheffield International Venues (SIV) we are delighted to build on the previous relationship and the partnership with the city to agree a four year deal for elite amateur boxing in Britain to be based at EIS Sheffield.”


SIV chief executive Steve Brailey said; “The four year deal is proof of the strength of the sporting offer now available in Sheffield through our facilities which also include international class facilities such as Ponds Forge, Don Valley and iceSheffield, and our experienced support team.”


Roger Davison, Sheffield's Cabinet adviser for Culture and Leisure, said: “The confirmation that boxing is basing itself and expanding its programme in Sheffield is testament to the sound partnership work that is going on here.


"The Lighting the Flame partnership involving Sheffield City Council and SIV amongst others, has helped secure BABA and their athletes to remain in the city in the lead up to 2012.


“More elite athletes at the highest level of boxing will be located in Sheffield which will impact positively on the community programme, providing local people with an opportunity to get involved with one of the leading Olympic sports.


"BABA’s location here will also help to attract major boxing events and international training camps, further raising the profile of Sheffield as a sporting city.”