WIMBORNE ABC coach Dave Rimmer says getting in the ring at the Bournemouth International Centre was a “fantastic opportunity” for his young boxers.

In a bid to promote grassroots clubs, BOXXER gave a timeslot to Wimborne during the open workout session at the BIC in December, as part of Chris Billam-Smith versus Mateusz Masternak fight week.

Wimborne have developed a reputation for their work with female boxers.

Led by award-winning Gabrielle Reid, who boxes and coaches, six girls took to the ring alongside Rimmer for a 30-minute workout, before posing for a photo with hometown hero Billam-Smith.

“We’ve got a wide range of girls of different levels,” Rimmer told the Daily Echo.

“Some have just started, some have been in for three, four or five years, all with the aims or hopes of maybe one day being where Chris is now.

“To be able to get in and feel like a pro for that half an hour is absolutely massive.

“It could be one of those things that keeps them in the sport even longer.

“So it’s a great opportunity and I'm really thankful to BOXXER for letting us get in.”

Bournemouth Echo: Wimborne ABC in action at the BIC

Asked how the chance came about, Rimmer explained: “Gabrielle is a boxer at our club, who also works for England Boxing.

“They have now formed a great link with BOXXER, to try and bring closer amateur boxing and professional boxing.

“Due to her links with England boxing and our links with female boxing, the two came together and we were offered this fantastic opportunity and we took it with both hands.”

Wimborne ABC opened around nine years ago, and have around 100 members, although just a handful compete.

“We’ve only got a small club in Wimborne,” said Rimmer.

“Most amateur clubs will agree that probably out of all their membership, five or 10 per cent will actually go on to box.

“But it’s great to have that many people in the gym, enjoying the sport and having success for their own reasons.

“Everyone enters the gym and enters boxing for their own reasons and for their own journeys. We’re just glad that somehow we can be part of it at Wimborne.”

He continued: “We became an amateur club about six years ago now. We are a mixed club, we have lads and girls, but for some reason, I think due to maybe the amount of female projects we’ve run, our female team has really grown.

“We’ve had some great successes, but success doesn’t always have to mean winning championships or winning belts. Success for some is just for taking up boxing, especially as a female.

“We’ve had success from champions right the way through to European gold medallists. We’ve been going nearly nine years now and will hopefully be going for many more years.”

Bournemouth Echo: Wimborne ABC in action at the BIC

There were two female fights on the Billam-Smith undercard, involving highly-rated duo Lauren Price and Fran Hennessy.

“We all need role models, but female athletes especially need role models,” said Rimmer.

“People they can look up to and be like, you know what, one day I want to be there.

“What I love about Lauren Price and Fran Hennessy is they have done the amateur route and then they’ve moved on and are doing very well now in the professional game.

“So these girls can literally put themselves in that position and they are fantastic role models. I thank them personally and the girls look up to them, so thank you.”