The Bulldog Gym (Bournemouth) roots were formulated in about 1986 when I began my training in Thai Boxing with Master Lee (now known as Ajarn
Lee). The club was known as Sitsunti and we primarily mixed in the B.T.B.C circles, which at the time included Master Bob (The Fire Cobra) and
Master Boon. We trained in a church hall and were very traditional.
Although we trained twice a week it was not enough for me as I was already hooked and so I travelled to shows and gyms, to watch and train whenever I could. These included early shows at the Yorkshire Grey in Eltham, where I met Sean Toomey who is a close friend to this day, and in
Borhamwood where Nick Stone promoted. At one event Nick had Tim Izli topping the bill and I noticed his boxing skills were much better than many other Thai Boxers of the time. I found out that this had come from cross training in Kickboxing and Boxing.
A new school opened in Bournemouth owned by a guy called Dave Martin. It had bags, a ring and everything else we didn’t have. I began to train as much as possible, anywhere I could.
In due course Dave Martin met with Terry Butwell (Original Bulldog Gym) who managed his ongoing fight career and The Bulldog Gym Bournemouth was born.
Over the years Terry and I have moved in different directions and now run separate entities, But we have never fallen out and it is important to acknowledge that he was the inspiration behind the original concept. Although I was a little torn between loyalties to each club, while
Master Lee was infinitely knowledgeable and will forever have my complete respect, The Bulldog gym were more active, and with Dave Martin still fighting, we were always on away days to somewhere interesting.
Fast forward to 1991. I had been a pretty unspectacular fighter for a few years but I had been around a bit, shared the ring with some interesting names and had spent so much time in gyms, picking up new training methods and techniques that when Dave Martin emigrated it was inevitable that I would be part of the take over. Initially there was a group of us running things but myself and Boxing coach Colin
Bascombe were the only ones who stayed the course. A bad back injury and premises prob-lems forced us to close for a year but in ‘92 it all began again. A new premises and full time fighters squad including Marcel Kellman and Jamie Dickson was completed by the arrival in the town of
Kickboxing legend Trevor Ambrose. Trevor and I worked as a partnership for ten years until he emigrated (I seem to have that effect on people).
The 90’s saw a good flow through of fighters and champions including 4 x British champion Robert Drew, World Champion Wayne Ambrose, British &
Intercontinental Champion Jamie Dickson, British Champion Rob Heywood and British Champion Ben Allen. Trevor Ambrose became successful in pro
Boxing and then returned to Kickboxing to win another four (credible) world titles.
Our final resting-place in central Bournemouth was opened in 1996 and has been home to the next generation ever since. Some of that generation have gone on to become instructors and key members of Team Bulldog and with the top class events that we also promote in the town, The Bulldog Brand is now firmly established. The icing on the cake has been the Bulldog Sports shops that I have opened that carry all major brands as well as our own Bulldog range. Before I introduce you to the current crop I would like to say thank you to everyone who has con-tributed over the years, even those that have gone their own way (it happens!).
Here are the faces that make up the most successful phase ever in the Bulldog history: John Orchard is my senior Kickboxing instructor and the current golden boy of British Kickboxing. You have all heard of him and read about his achievements. He has won almost every available domestic honour over the last four years and currently holds two versions of the world title.
He has avoided no one and has a huge list of well-known names on his victim list. As an instructor he is an inspiration to his students and some of the Young Guns coming through for 2006 owe much to his enthusiasm and dedication.
Janine Davis is my senior Thai Boxing instructor but in addition she is a fully qualified fitness trainer and nutritionist. As a fighter she ram-paged through her division under Kick and Thai Boxing rules from 2000 – 2003, capturing Southern Area and British titles along the way. An unfortunate slip in her commonwealth title contest resulted in a broken wrist and her only defeat but once again she returned to capture the
World title (Thai rules) in 2003. A knee injury sustained in training for that contest has side-lined her for two years with surgery and physio a constant requirement. However, she is coming out of the other side now and her future proba-bly lies in Kickboxing (due to the injury). Watch out for her return in 2006.
Lee Harris is a Boxer who joined the team in 2001. He is a qualified A.B.A coach and a first class cornerman. Team Bulldog could not do without his insight into each and every aspect of a contest and just to prove that he knows what he is talking about, he came out of retirement at aged 36 to compete in 8 contests. He now works as my right hand man in all areas of the business and currently runs the busiest boxing classes in the area.
Jenny Prowse is another female instructor and fighter who currently controls most of the Thai Boxing classes. Having started from absolute scratch in 2000 she trained consistently and put more time in than most people do in ten years. She has concentrated on all aspects – training, competing and instructing which has resulted in a rapid rise to prominence. Although she is pre-dominantly a Thai boxer, fights are hard to come by for females who are 66kg+ and this has resulted in her fighting all styles and winning a version of the British title. International level beckons in 2006
Daniel Winstanley is our first junior instructor. Although he is only 14 years old he has been with the Bulldog for 5 years. Before that he trained in Ju Jitsu to Brown belt standard. His silky smooth skills under any rules have led him to Southern area & British title victories and his future looks very strong. He has also trained as an assistant instructor during that time and continues to serve his apprenticeship. He is an example and inspiration to all kids his age and it is hoped that he will join the team full time when he leaves school.
Indy Ethatha is the Basque Bulldog who will fight anybody under any rules. He prefers Thai rules but likes to stay busy so will take what is on offer. At our Xmas 2005 event in Bournemouth he is scheduled to fight under full Thai rules for the first time. He holds a version of the
Southern area title and by the time you read this will have chal-lenged Suky Shoria for his WKU English title. He is also an instructor in both