A fantastic experience

oliver's army: Tom Hebden with former European bantamweight champion Spencer Oliver.
oliver's army: Tom Hebden with former European bantamweight champion Spencer Oliver.

Teenage boxer Tom Hebden has been learning tricks of the trade from a former European champion.

The Bridlington ABC member travelled to Spencer Oliver’s gym in North London last week, for a two-hour session with the Commonwealth games silver medallist.

Oliver donated signed gloves, a photo and the training session to an auction to help the Sick Children’s Trust.

Tom’s dad Graham said: “We went down last Friday, taking four hours to get there. As Spencer put on his Twitter feed ‘that’s dedication’.

“The session was booked for noon but we arrived early at 11.15am. Phoning ahead, we were met outside the gym by a big welcoming smile from Spencer himself.

“Inside the gym, which is used by many professional boxers, was Derrick Chizora who was training for his next heavyweight bout.

“Spencer wrapped Tom’s hands first with protection to his knuckles, then his wraps, then fully taped hands and wrists.

“Tom then started to warm up by skipping and shadow boxing then after 15 minutes, Spencer called him to the ring to start some pad work.

“Spencer worked him hard with six three-minute rounds on pads with technique work and some fitness circuits slotted in between, then they moved on to a strength and conditioning in the gym area with various weights.

“After a hard training session, Spencer then stretched Tom’s back, arms and legs so his muscles recovered and didn’t cramp up on the journey home.

In all, we were there nearly two hours which was way more than we were expecting.”

Oliver’s boxing career was ended in 1998 when he needed life-saving surgery after he suffered a blood clot during a European Super Bantamweight title defence at the Royal Albert Hall.

He has now established himself as a leading trainer and media pundit.

Tom said: “It was a fantastic experience meeting Spencer Oliver and having a training session with him in his gym, also the technique work and advice he gave me which I can take into my boxing.

“I would like to return again sometime, but that experience will stay with me forever. I would like to thank Spencer for donating this to the charity which allowed me this great experience.”

See a video of Tom with Spencer Oliver at the Free Press website