altJULY 1 - THE Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) is to relocate to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield in September.


The move, from its 30-year-old base at Crystal Palace, is seen as key to encouraging wider participation in the sport at grass roots, community and elite level during the build-up to the 2012 Olympics.


"Sheffield offers us the chance to be in a city at the cutting edge of elite sport, use first class facilities, take advantage of superb opportunities to liaise with clubs, schools and local authorities to deliver a focused programme, develop world class athletes and raise the profile of the ABAE," said Paul King, the ABAE's chief executive (pictured here with Wayne Coyle, Sheffield International Venue's head of sport).


“There is now a massive sea change in boxing through modernisation and improved governance, structure and funding. Our overall aim will be to deliver Sport England’s Whole Sports Plan to assist in the development of the sport, its athletes at local and regional level and also deliver the elite programme for UK Sport, which will be extremely focused on achieving more Olympic medals and qualifying athletes for Beijing and beyond to the London games in 2012.”


The ABAE is hoping that successful, high profile boxers like Bolton’s Amir Khan and more recently Liverpool’s Neil Perkins, will attract local potential future medal-winners into the sport.


The move, due to take place in September, will create around 10 jobs at the EIS, including the first ever Boxing Development Officer for Sheffield who will liaise with local clubs and schools.


As well as better identification of future talent at grass-roots level, the ABAE also hopes to target and expand participation of female boxers and encourage improved relations with professional boxing.


Wayne Coyle, Sheffield International Venue’s head of sport and director of Olympic and Paralympic Strategy and member of the Sheffield 2012 Steering Group, said: “Sheffield can play a major part in an exciting challenge of creating a world class programme for amateur boxers who can aspire to represent Great Britain in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. 


"The city hopes it can move forward to develop a boxing programme that is both innovative and brings through a new and successful generation of future Olympians.”


John Mothersole, Sheffield City Council's Executive Director of Development, Environment and Leisure added: “It is really encouraging to see another national sports organisation making a commitment to using Sheffield's world-class facilities.  I am delighted to welcome the ABA to the city and I'm sure we will see many more champions developing from this region in the future."


The English Volleyball Association relocated its GB teams to EISS earlier this month in preparation for Beijing 2008 and London 2012.