Craig Turner Bristol Boxing Coach Interview at SGS Boxing

By Stevie Adams / in , , , , , /

Hi Craig, thank you very much for doing an
interview today. Could we begin with you telling us a little
bit about yourself and your background and how and when you started Boxing? Well I started boxing in 1983 as a 10 year
old, to basically keep me out of trouble, also to keep me fit, and it certainly did
that! Unfortunately my competitive career came to an end in 1988 due to a health condition
so that’s when i began coaching at that stage. I have been very fortunate to work
with some of the city’s most prevalent boxers, Glenn Catley and Ross Hale amongst others
and have developed my coaching in that time to reach the standard of a national coach,
regional coach and now a coach educator at SGS college. Have you studied any martial arts, if so how
has it affected you and would you recommend it? We always look at cross training between the
martial arts, such as Thai Boxing, MMA that kind of thing to basically pinch ideas from
them to bring them to our sport of amateur boxing. Now I’m absolutely sure that some
of the martial arts do so vice versa. There is an awful lot within strength conditioning,
there are huge realms as I’m sure you will agree. There is a lot to be drawn from both
sports, but particularly even Wing Chun, different defences and so on and so forth, different
training and training ideas. Even that of the dummy have been employed in amateur boxing
and professional boxing before now to complement each other incredibly well. So have you done any martial arts yourself,
or has it just been primarily boxing? I’ve always been primarily boxing, I’ve
dabbled with contact kick boxing for a little while and broadly it just wasn’t for me.
Use of the legs just really didn’t compute, and as you can see I’m not as young and
spritely as i may have been once upon a time, it just didn’t work for me. Can you tell us about what keeps you interested
in boxing after all these years? Broadly seeing young people succeed, you get
a kid that comes off the street, shy and nervous, or one who is equally offended or is in danger
of offending and you bring them to the gym and work with their confidence, a positive
outlet, positive release of energy and anger, it’s all there for them and it works so
positively like no other challenge in the arena. The appeal of contact sports such as
martial arts and boxing is that sort of tough guy image that acts as a hook, no pun intended,
to bring the guys in, start working with them they become decent solid people in the main. What is the current standard of Boxing in
Great Britain in comparison to other countries? It’s actually fantastic we’ve drawn from
other countries the stronger countries, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, former Russian republic.
We’ve drawn from them we’ve learned our lessons and i think now in terms of amateur
boxing team GB is by far emerging as one of the top if not the top boxing nation purely
as a result of dedicated coaching staff, dedicated national coaches and a wealth of international
experience. That’s great to hear. It’s very very good to hear. Do you have anyone who will qualify for this
years Olympic Games? Certainly not this year because everyone that’s
here is in further education 16-18 years, we are hopeful, touch wood that one of our
young ladies will qualify for i believe its China in the next Olympic cycle. She is current
national youth champion, she has won 4 titles this year and has just been selected for the
England talent programme. Currently she is 17 so a lot can happen between now and then. 4 years is a long time It is absolutely but we are quite hopeful,
she is very talented we are hopeful she might be selected. So is she local to the Bristol area? She is indeed, she’s Bristolian, initially
hailed from Indianapolis in the USA, her mums American and her dads Bristolian, so we are
happy that she is in Bristol and on our side ha ha ha. Do you find that boxing is more suited to
a certain type of person or do you think it has something for everyone? Would you believe the diversity we have got
in the club its absolutely phenomenal, we’ve got kids from private schools rubbing shoulders
from people from the travelling community, all manner of race are there and there’s
no social or economic boundaries in contact sport. In terms of sport its relatively cheep
to participate in and as i say the guys they get qualified training, they get a very decent
facility at basically pennies that encourages participation, anyone can attend and there’s
that respect as well. It’s classless in as such as it doesn’t matter how much money
you’ve got or how little money you’ve got, your all one and the same in the gym. What are your biggest accomplishments and
the highs and maybe some of the lows if you have had any? Biggest accomplishments, certainly now I’ve
produced three national champions, two England boxing champions and one British Universities
champion, I’m very proud of that. I think my biggest achievement though personally is
since we started the program here at SGS College no less than four competitive boxers have
gone on to university education having not planned to do so before they came. To me historically
boxers the sort of guys who have got no choice and the rough around sort of guys, these are
superbly fit intelligent people and as i say they dispel the myth of the thud and blunder.
They have gone on to further education to be sports psychologists and physiotherapists
one of them; and it all mix in and works very positively for combat sport and discipline
it offers. What would you say is the biggest positive
influence Boxing has had upon you? I’ve met some great great people in boxing,
there’s no better people to grow up around because there honest and down to earth. I
have to say there’s a gentleman in Bristol he now cleans windows for a living even at
76 years of age, former number 10 lightweight in the country a guy called Peter Richards;
and he’s forgotten more about the game than I’ll ever know. He really has taught me
not only how to be a coach not only to be an educator but to be hopefully be a decent
person as well and that’s the truth of contact sports there’s no hiding, there’s no hiding
who you are or what skills you’ve got, it’s there for you all to see. What’s the worst injury you have received
through Boxing? The worst injury I’ve received personally
is i kept breaking my Scaphiod in my hand, it’s at the base of the thumb and it’s
a pressure injury almost a defensive injury if you were to fall and put your hands out
to save yourself, your hands forced back and you break it. I’ve done it through boxing
6 times, once while actually boxing and 5 times on the pads because the pads force the
hands back and break the Scaphoid, it’s known as a boxing injury and certainly one
of the more prevalent managers in Bristol Chris Sanagar has got the same injury which
he had to have pinned as a result of the same thing. So do you find it causes you any grief when
your coaching? Well being a tragic old man as i am now during
the cold weather it tends to hurt and your kind of aware of it at any stage it could
go again, it’s such a fragile bone, but as i say touch wood nothing more serious than
that. If you could give one piece of advice to somebody
that is beginning there boxing journey now, what would it be? Train hard fight easy. Easy as that? Easy as that. Can you tell us about your coaching career? Yeah, I’m lead to believe i was one of the
youngest level 1 coaches in the country because i had to stop competitive boxing around about
17, i believe i wasn’t quite 18. So i was mentored by a wonderful guy called Kurt Ernest
who was a coach educators in the country at the time and he was a national coach, very
influential man, very knowledgeable man, ex professional, actually fought for the British
title as a professional, been all over the world with the Olympians so on and so forth,
so he mentored me until i was 18 and able to hold the qualification. I believe i was
about 19 when i took the level 2, appointed 21 Signal Regiment boxing coach around about
that time which was a voluntary post but looked great on the CV, i did a good job, i must
of done because they never shot me. We gathered pace from there round the St George Amateur
boxing club, i coached for the police community clubs of Great Britain. I’ve done a lot
of coaching work within the police force when i was a police officer and as i say now i
work for England boxing as Child Welfare Tutor and also here at SGS College for the AASE
program which is the Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence. Over the years I’ve
worked with some really good boxers, the crowning glory of that was obviously Glenn Catley who’s
the absolute pride of Bristol. I was very very fortunate very early on to work as a
pad man for Glenn and he never hit me that often, i have to say sometimes he slipped
or did he! Yeah i worked with some great guys and continue to now. What are your aims and goals in training and
outside of training? My aims and goals in training is to provide
the kids in Bristol with the very very best we can offer them in terms of knowledge and
in terms of equipment and everything we can get them. Nationally we are seen as the poor
relations down in the west of England and i really want to dispel that myth. I want
that to go with a wealth of talent, we have a wealth of very strong gifted kids that with
the right push can go certainly all the way. The times of any exclusion in sport are long
gone and we are still as a region trying to emerge from that. The main trust of all my
coaching and teaching as well is the kids are involved positively and not up the jail…….ha
ha ha ha ha. Brilliant, that’s great stuff, thank you
very much for doing the interview today Craig. That’s my pleasure.

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