BRADFORD boxer Tasif Khan had a night to remember as he opened his own boxing academy last Friday.

The 40-year-old created the Tasif Khan Community Boxing Academy alongside a group of close friends and fellow boxers in 2020, with the last three years spent delivering programmes at other gyms and schools.

But the academy finally has its own premises, at 108-114 Sunbridge Road in BD1, with the grand opening taking place on Friday last week – where over 150 people were in attendance.

Reflecting on the evening, Khan said: “We had a very good turnout; considering it was invitation only, it was great to see so many people and important faces from the area. We had our partners, members of the council, our sponsors and the lord mayor of Bradford all there. It was difficult because I wanted to invite everyone that I know from around Bradford, but we wouldn’t have been able to accommodate for all those individuals. It was a long time coming, but overall, it was a positive turnout and I think the overall reception of the event was a good one.

“I’m extremely proud of the work that has gone into this project and I’m excited to see what the future brings.”

Khan had a very important message for those in attendance, stating: “My message throughout this whole period, which was reiterated at the grand opening, has been that we have no barriers whatsoever when letting students or trainers through our doors. We will not look at anyone’s age, ability, race or gender and judge them; everyone is welcome. We will cater for all people, whether it’s a mixed class on a Saturday for seven-year-olds and above, or disability classes after we got our gym licensed to be able to hold those sessions.

“Furthermore, my message is clear that I think the sessions will get booked up quickly, so be quick in contacting the gym or myself to get onto the classes. However, even if you don’t manage to get onto a class, we will have fun sessions like ‘boxercise’ classes to participate in on a Saturday so that nobody is sat around watching on the side.”

Khan, won the WBO African Super Flyweight title in December to be placed eighth in the WBO world rankings and he is eyeing up a title fight next month.

But Khan grew up in inner-city Bradford and knows how boxing can be used for a force for good.

A delighted Khan told the T&A: “We set the academy up three years ago, just to sort of emphasise my position in boxing as someone for kids to look up to.

.“We were delivering programmes at other clubs and in schools, but we didn’t have a base of our own, until the opportunity came up at these premises on Sunbridge Road.”

The academy is about far more than boxing though, with Khan explaining: “We do a lot of community work, with Impact Hub and the NHS, as well as doing things around crime prevention and education.

“We are looking for future boxing champions of course, including in our female-only classes, but we’re working with mental health charities and disabled groups too.”

The inspiration for the facility comes from Khan’s childhood, as he said: “My best friend Nissar Hussain and I grew up going to Bradford Police Boys boxing club and Alec Allan was a mentor to us, who gave us a home.

“It was like a youth club as much as a boxing one, and I want to get them back in fashion.

“We want to help kids who are falling out of education and work with organisations on preventing that, using sport to help them get back into schooling.

“We’re looking to mould and discipline youngsters into being good community members and just give them a sense of direction in life.”