A teenager who began boxing to stay off the streets is now one of the world’s top four.
Connor Tudsbury, 18, from Fallowfield, trained at Moss Side Fire Station Boxing Club from the age of eight to avoid getting dragged into trouble in South Manchester.
Last month, he emerged with a bronze medal from the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Budapest in the men’s middleweight division.
Now an eight-time national champion, the former Trinity Church of England High School pupil is preparing for the step up to senior level next year.
Tudsbury will do so with a junior record of 65 wins from 80 fights and the example of Anthony Joshua to follow – whose path to stardom from complicated beginnings offers an inspiring model.
“The Worlds were just amazing. I got bronze at the Europeans last year but the Worlds were just like the Olympics,” said Tudsbury, speaking at a white-water rafting day run by Caesars in aid of SportsAid.
“It’s such a good experience to go to a major event and I was delighted with the result.
“I feel like being top four in the world is a great achievement.
“Next year I’ll be a senior so I’ll have to win the nationals again and prove myself to get on the GB programme, then go to the Olympics and win gold.
“I really admired Anthony’s background and that’s exactly the route I want to take. He’s so humble and a great boxer.
“There’s a lot of stuff we could have got involved in but boxing has kept us on the straight and narrow to get where we are.”
Tudsbury’s cause is also being helped by funding from Caesars Entertainment, who are teaming up with charity SportsAid to support Britain’s most promising athletes.
SportsAid, whose alumni include Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sir Mo Farah, provide promising youngsters with funding and recognition early on in their careers.
Among their backers are Caesars, whose employees took SportsAid athletes under their wing for a rip-roaring day of rafting on September 27 at Lee Valley.
Olympic champion Etienne Stott was on hand to provide guidance for teams tasked with building and racing rafts, with Tudsbury in a team alongside Manchester 235.
The boxer explained how the injection of funding helped him prepare perfectly for the World Championships in Hungary.
“It’s amazing to have their backing – it gives you belief and is a confidence-booster,” he said.
“It helped me fund my preparation camps for Hungary, getting out there and accommodation.
“It’s good to have someone behind you, egging you on and giving you their support. SportsAid is a special charity because it gives people like me a chance.”
Caesars Entertainment EMEA is helping young athletes at SportsAid by giving them recognition and financial support during the critical formative years of their careers. For more information, please visit www.caesars.co.uk