Priory Park ABC at Baggeridge.

Sam Gwilt displaces his opponent’s gum-shield.

From a photographer’s point of view, the lighting in boxing venues is seldom ideal. and Baggeridge Sports & Social Club is less ideal than most with the only lighting available coming from the room’s fluorescent ceiling lights. In fact, when editing images from the many boxing shows I’ve photographed there, I’ve noticed that usually the audience are better lit than the fighters in the ring!¬† However, what it lacks in suitability for sports photography, it makes up for in atmosphere as Priory Park ABC‘s boxing shows here are ALWAYS full to capacity.

This month’s “open” show was no exception and showcased the club’s new talent as well as some of the more experienced boxers. Wherever Priory Park’s shows are, the standard of boxing is exceptional and Paul Gough has assembled a great team of trainers, referees, MC’s, etc that I feel I am now a part of.

A Priory Park boxer is lifted off his feet.

This shot shows how the audience are actually better lit than the boxers.

Mud, Boxers, Mud, A Tank And A Digger

Some people spend their Summer Friday afternoons drifting away from their places of work and heading over to the beer garden for a bit of liquid refreshment. Not me. I was taking photographs in a very muddy builders’ yard in the Black Country.

I had been asked by Priory Park ABC‘s head trainer Paul Gough to take some pictures of some of the club’s top boxers for a poster. The idea was to photograph the lads in front of a digger – with boxer Ricky “Digger” Summers (who will be fighting for a title at the event that the poster is going to be advertising) taking centre stage.

Pictured are (from left): Ryan Partridge, Ryan “Tank” Aston, Ricky Summers, Luke Paddock, and Ryan Corrigan

The only digger available was perched atop a huge pile of gravel/soil and because of the available space could only be photographed from 180 degrees. The strong sun was in and out of the clouds on a minute-by-minute basis and was either directly behind, or almost to the side of the lads. And so I used some off-camera strobe to lift up the shadows on their faces a bit.

We finally dispensed with the high-vis jackets and helmets and let the boxers look like boxers…

And just to show that we also experimented with some different positioning…

Neither of these images are the one chosen for the poster. You’ll have to wait to see that. And the ultra-high-clarity finish to these images is as requested by Paul (it’s not my usual look but I do like it on these shots).

“Tank” Rolls On

For quite a few years now, I’ve been watching the young boxers of Dudley’s Priory Park ABC as they grow (in every sense) and develop their craft under the expert guidance of trainer Paul Gough and his team. My first tentative steps into documentary photography began with a story about this club and even back then, one name was being whispered as a future champion – Dudley’s own Ryan “Tank” Aston. If you’d been alongside me at ringside when “Tank” faced Bulgarian fighter¬†Stanislav Nenkov at The Venue, Dudley on 7th June, you’d know how he earned his nickname.

Tank, about to enter the ring

Trainer Paul Gough gives advice between rounds

Ryan dominated the fight from the outset and it wasn’t long before Nenkov was in serious trouble…

Nenkov hits the canvas for the first time.

Eventually, Tank’s relentless body shots took their toll and in the 6th round (of a scheduled 10)…

Nenkov down for the second time.


DJR_5514

Ryan basks in his well-deserved glory.

This fight was the final bout in a show which also showcased other local professionals based at Priory Park including Ricky Summers (images of whom I plan to post in the near future). I can honestly say that Ryan’s victory was a fitting highlight to an excellent night of boxing put together by Paul Gough. It was so good in fact, that I confess I was a bit too distracted at times to concentrate on my photography, Still, I walked away with quite a few images that I was pleased with.