STEVE Bendall hopes to create a hotbed of talent in Bournemouth after being granted a licence to manage by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

The 40-year-old World Boxing Union (WBU) middleweight champion has held a training licence for the past two years, working with up-and-coming fighters making their way in the professional ranks at his gym in Wallisdown.

After helping the likes of Bournemouth-based duo Jake Gosling and Fion O’Meara, Matthew Legg and Mudeford brothers Tommy and Shane Watson, Bendall now wants to hand his talented stable a platform to showcase their skills in Dorset.

“What I am trying to do is put professional boxing on the map in Bournemouth,” said Bendall. “I have been a professional boxer based down here for the past 16 years and we haven’t had a big show.

“Some haven’t come off for me recently, and I still want to fight in Bournemouth myself before I retire, but my focus is now on giving young lads the chance to show what they can do, on their own patch and in front of their own people.

“There are some good boxers in Bournemouth, it’s just a case of finding the right experience for them to come through and establish themselves and, hopefully, we will be able to give them that now.”

Meanwhile, Bendall said that he had held direct dialogue with the WBU over the possibility of a Bournemouth swansong having been unable to secure a venue through a promoter.

Any youngsters looking to break into professional boxing can contact Bendall on 07855 942151 or via email: