The ex-British and World boxing champion has turned his attention to helping troubled kids in Birmingham get their lives back on track – with startling results!
By his own admission, boxing champion Wayne Elcock was a ‘nightmare’ at school, finding it impossible to avoid a good scrap. “I don’t know why. It could be as simple as somebody looking at me and I’d be off – What you looking at?” His teachers used to tell him ‘Elcock you’ll end up in prison’ and the label stuck. When a fellow pupil suggested he might think he was hard on the playground but it would be another story down at his boxing club naturally Wayne took up the challenge. “I got a good hiding basically. Bloody nose and swollen eyes, but I went back and started training mainly so I could get my own back.” The rest is history. With multiple British and World titles under his belt, Wayne has stepped down from professional boxing and is giving back. He is using his experience to help other kids around Birmingham who might be in the same cycle of aggression. With the backing of Solihull Council he launched Box Clever, a mobile boxing gym he takes into Midlands schools. He currently goes into 39 schools, coaching approximately 1,400 kids a week.
“The difference is unbelievable. The problems the kids have varies. Some are really angry. I lost my father and I think that made me angry and some of these kids have too. Others have confidence issues, but to watch them changing the destructive paths they were on is amazing.” The schools and police recognise the impact Wayne has had – he gets calls from teachers and officers to ask for his help in dealing with a particular situation. “I drum into the kids that if they are in trouble outside of the gym or they use what I’ve taught them to fight outside the gym then this ends for them. Boxing is a lifeline that they don’t want to lose, so they respect that and they behave.” It’s obvious that Box Clever is something Wayne is immensely proud and protective of. People have approached him about rolling it out to other major cities or even franchising, but Wayne’s not keen. “I’d lose control of it then. We’re doing something really special here and doing it properly. This isn’t about money.” As well as the job being hugely satisfying, Wayne harbours an ambition to train a future champion. “One of my 14-year-olds is in the top four in the UK. I know it’s selfish but I’d love to train an Olympic champion and then a world champion. That would be a dream.”