A PROMISING boxer has been left devastated after a kit bag containing hundreds of pounds worth of training gear was stolen as he sat just yards away.
A PROMISING boxer has been left devastated after a kit bag containing hundreds of pounds worth of training gear was stolen as he sat just yards away.Joe-John Bird (17), who dreams of one day turning professional, now fears it will now take him more than two years to replace the equipment, which vanished from The Roundhead pub, at the Bretton Centre, in Bretton.
The teenager had come back from training to the pub, which is owned by his dad, Nick, and mum, Maz, and left the bag, containing gloves and boots next to a door that leads up to the family's flat.
Joe-John went straight into an hour-long meeting about a junior football team he helps run, and, when he returned, the bag, containing 400 worth of equipment, had gone.
Joe-John, who trains with the Peterborough Phoenix club at Jack Hunt School, in Netherton, Peterborough, said: "I was shocked and really angry because I have spent ages getting the kit just right.
"The gloves were given to me not long ago as a thank-you for helping out with some of the younger lads at the club.
"It has taken me years to get the kit as I wanted it, and now I'm going to have to start all over again."
Joe-John started boxing three years ago, and has already had seven bouts, winning three and losing four.
He has now had to cancel a fight, and his preparations for the national junior championships later this year have been severely disrupted.
Joe-John, a pupil at St John Fisher School, in Park Lane, Peterborough, added: "The championships are in November and I won't be ready by then.
"I have been doing some training, but it has been with some old boots that are falling apart and gloves with holes in them.
"I will just have to do the best I can and gradually replace the kit."
Gary De'Roux, the coach who presented Joe-John with the new gloves, said: "He is very committed and puts a lot back into the club. He is a really nice lad, so this is a bit gutting."
Mrs Bird said: "We just can't believe someone walked in and stole the bag from our own pub."
• Anyone with information should contact Thorpe Wood police station on 01733 563232.
Fighter who is 'going places'
Joe-John Bird's trainer said the youngster wouldn't let the theft of his kit stand in the way of his ambitions.
Gary De'Roux said: "It is affecting his training because he is having to use some old kit.
"The gloves we got him were top of the range, so he is having to adjust, which isn't easy.
"But Joe-John is a strong character.
"He is a committed fighter who is definitely going places."
>> Cambridgeshire Police