THE noble art is thriving in this neck of the woods with Cardigan Amateur Boxing Club appearing to face a bright future despite the coronavirus pandemic.

There was boxing in the town in the late 1940s and 1950s and for some years, when there was a gymnasium and ring at the rear of the former Ship Inn at Pendre, bouts were held in the Market Hall.

The present club was formed in the 1970s when a headquarters was established in the former Girl Guides hut tucked away down a narrow lane adjoining the Maesyrhaf housing estate.

In those days the gym was run by Mal Jones and the late Laurie Lawson who produced a wealth of talented boxers, several of whom won international honours.

Some years later the two trainers formed a club at St Dogmaels and a gym at Cefn with some of the young fighters including Welsh International brothers Lee and Dean Winney and Wayne Jones.

But unfortunately, despite an attractive show at St Dogmaels Memorial Hall, the club went out of existence.

Nowadays the shining stars in the Cardigan gym are 18-year-old Crymych twins Ioan and Garan Croft who are making names for themselves at national and international level.

It is hardly surprising that the club is on an upward curve with the likes of former top professional boxer Chris Lawson involved.

Before the local gym opened, Lawson was a member of Pembroke ABC and frequently cycled to and from Cardigan for training - a round trip of 72 miles.

The son of the late Laurie, he became a local hero in 1977 when winning the ABA light-heavyweight title and the following year turned professional.

During a pro career when he shared the Eddie Thomas gym with Colin Jones, the Cardigan pugilist had 39 bouts between 1978 and 1984 twice going in with world champion Dennis Andries of Hackney.

Towards the end of last year Cardigan ABC was awarded a total of £48,000 in grants by Sport Wales Capital Development and Ceredigion County Council Community Scheme.

When the Covid-19 crisis is over and the world returns to normal, the club will be keen to purchase a plot of land adjoining the gym for an extension and new sparring ring.

Club chairman Mike Lewis said “We want to encourage more youngsters to follow in the footsteps of Ioan and Garan who are doing the club proud.”