A soldier and former head coach of the Army boxing team has been playing a vital role as an assistant coach to the Welsh National Boxing Team at the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Sergeant (Sgt) Martin Anthony, 49, from Ammanford, West Wales, was one of three assistant coaches supporting Colin Jones MBE, the Welsh National boxing head coach.
A lifelong boxer and coach, Sgt Martin joined the Army at age 16, by which time he had already been boxing for five years.
The young sportsman’s interest was sparked after he had initially tried joining the Boys’ Brigade and the Scouts, but it was boxing that stole his heart after going along to Cymmer Afan Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) with a friend.
The experience kick-started a lifelong passion and dedication to the sport which has now taken him all the way to the Commonwealth Games 2022 as an assistant coach to the Welsh National Team.
“It’s a fantastic experience, you can’t buy an experience like this, and not many people get to become a coach at the Commonwealth Games. Especially for someone like me, who started at the grass roots level, to build up to this point is really fantastic." Sergeant Martin Anthony
He said: “I have been boxing all my life and I started at a very young age – I boxed for Cymmer Afan ABC as a youngster.
“I was eleven when I started, I’d tried the Boys’ Brigade and the Scouts but I was very sporty as a youngster and my mate went boxing, so I went along to see if I liked it and just carried on from there, I also played Rugby in my youth too.
“When I joined the Army I joined the Junior Leader Regiment RCT/RAOC and got to the finals of the boxing competition there, after passing out from juniors I decided to focus on my Army career and took a four year break from the sport while I was posted to Germany.
“When I was posted back to the UK to 27 Transport Regiment in Aldershot, I got the boxing bug back again and began boxing for the regiment, squadron and the corps.”
By 1996 Sgt Anthony had begun coaching Army boxing teams, and gradually over the years worked his way up the coaching hierarchy.
He has now completed a total of eight official coaching courses and left his last job as a regular soldier after 25 years as the Army Boxing Team’s head coach.
Since leaving the regular Army in 2014 he re-joined as an FTRS (Full Time Regular Reservist) in March 2015 and now works as the Permanent Staff Instructor at 157 Regiment RLC (Royal Logistic Corps) in Haverford-West.
As a regular soldier who comes from an Army family, he deployed across the world on operations and exercises including two tours of Iraq, one to Angola, and completed two tours of Bosnia and also one posting to Cyprus.
As his coaching credentials have developed, Sgt Anthony has worked his way up the boxing coaching world and is currently an International Boxing Association (IBA) 2* Coach.
As a coach, he worked with Martin Stead, one of England’s best amateur boxers and three time Amateur Boxing Association of England’s champion. He started working with Welsh boxing in 2013 just before he left the regular Army.
His boxing heroes include most of the 60s and 70s fighters, including Roberto Duran, who held world championships in four weight classes – and is also the second boxer to have competed over a span of five decades.
Sgt Anthony added: “I was delighted to be asked to be an assistant coach for the Welsh national team for the Commonwealth Games, in the build up to the games I have been doing a lot of pad work with the team and helping out where needed.
“It’s a fantastic experience, you can’t buy an experience like this, and not many people get to become a coach at the Commonwealth Games.
“Especially for someone like me, who started at the grass roots level, to build up to this point is really fantastic."