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If you were guilty of enjoying too many treats during the recent Christmas and New Year festivities, then spare a thought for the schoolboy boxers at West Ham BC, and other local clubs, who had to step up their training – and cut down on the calories all over the holiday.

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The reason is the start of the first title race of 2013, the National Schools’ Championships, which get underway this weekend when the local hopefuls launch their bids for glory at the North East London Divisional Championships.

With many regular halls demolished or out of action, a new venue had to be found and the Results Gym in Hickman Avenue, Highams Park, Chingford, will stage the championships on Saturday.

The home of the Waltham Forest Boxing Club looks set for a hectic afternoon’s action with a scheduled entry list of nearly 80 schoolboys appearing on a packed programme at the first championships of 2013.

After the morning weigh-in and draw, boxing is scheduled to start at 12.30pm and, with a possible 40 contests scheduled, the championship action should continue well into the evening.

The Hammers, have built up a history of success at schoolboy level and have a dozen boxers named for the NE London tournament – including two 2012 and two 2011 national title winners looking to repeat their earlier successes.

The boxers from the Black Lion gym in Plaistow have some quality youngsters on show and will be strong in Class Three, where they have a trio of national champions in action.

Sidney Driscoll, who brought the Hammers a national title last year and was recently called up for his England debut, is entered in the section alongside 2011 winners Johnny Ellis and Joe Walder.

Other Class Three boxers named for the championships from the Plaistow club include Luca Reid, Jimmy Harbour and Javade Skeete.

Patrick Ward, who won a national award alongside Driscoll a year ago, is again chasing honours with Class Two club-mates Keiran Desmond, Paul Ellis and Adam Collinson.

Neighbours Newham BC provide some new faces in the Class One division, where Dean Gunning, Kane Wilson Stroud, Reece Fleet and Alfie Mehegan chase honours alongside their Class Two schoolboy Jack Burns.

Other area clubs including Fairbairn, Dagenham and Barking supply the early opposition, ensuring the local championships must be considered among the toughest opening rounds in the country.

Fairbairn include brothers Hassan and Hussain Abbas, both going for success in Class Two at the championships where Aaron Lawrence enters Class A.

The winners will move forward to face the winners of the other London divisions and the victors qualify for to the national rounds of the competition, which will be completed by the finals taking place as usual in March.

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