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Pleased as punch to meet you!

Byline: KAREN FAUGHEY

MORE than a dozen keen young boxers had a knockout day when they came face to face with their sporting hero.

The youngsters from Middlesbrough were invited to meet boxing champion Amir Khan, as part of a drive to promote healthy living.

The initiative was developed by Middlesbrough Council's community protection service, who worked with the Harmony Initiative and the Amateur Boxing Association of England to educate young people in the town about health and fitness.

More than 100 youngsters took part in the eight-week course, and 15 of them were then invited to meet World Light Welterweight champion Amir Khan at his boxing centre in Bolton.

Jamaal Majid, nine, from Harrow Road, in Middlesbrough, said: "It was great to meet my favourite boxer. He's really fast and this is the first time I've met a world champion boxer."

Khan welcomed the group to his personal gym. They were then put through their paces as they trained with the world champion and one of his boxing coaches.

Public health specialist from Middlesbrough Council, Imran Naeem said: "Helping young people to stay fit and healthy helps to tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity and ill-health in later life. Obesity remains the second biggest cause of preventable death in the UK and in Middlesbrough our aim is to halve the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015."

Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Executive member for public health and sport, said: "It's really important that our young people are given the best possible start in life and the opportunity and incentives to excel in their chosen sport."

CAPTION(S):

KNOCKOUT Jamaal Majid, nine, left, met his hero, boxing champion Amir Khan, below, at his personal gym
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2009
Words:285
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