HARTLEPOOL boxing has another exciting new signing – Commonwealth Games champion Simon Vallily.
The 28-year-old Frank Warren fighter has joined the Gus Robinson Developments gym where he will be coached by Peter Cope.
Vallily has swapped the bright lights of London for his native North-East as he looks for professional glory.
As an amateur, the South Bank fighter was an ABA champion with his career highlight coming in 2010 when he struck gold at the Commonwealth Games in India.
After missing out on a place at the London Olympics, Vallily went pro with leading promoter Warren and trained out of the famous TKO gym in Canning Town, run by Nigel Benn’s old trainer, Jimmy Tibbs.
With one pro win under his belt, the Middlesbrough-born cruiserweight has returned home and joins a Gus Robinson Developments gym which already boasts two undefeated talents, Bradley Saunders and Peter Cope.
“Bradley is an old friend and former team-mate with the GB squad in Sheffield,” said Vallily.
“We’ve kept in contact and when I said I was looking to move back up here from London, he recommended Peter.
“I’d watched Brad’s performance against Peter McDonagh in his last fight and I was really impressed.
“I thought ‘there must be something good behind this’ so I asked Peter [Cope] if he would train me.
“I want to reach my full potential and believe I can do it here.
“The training is good and I’m excited about the future.
“I believe that with the right attitude and dedication I can go as far as I want to go.
“I think I have the right trainer and I’m with the right people.
“Frank Warren is the best. History speaks for itself, look how many British fighters he has brought through to win world honours.
“If you keep winning, keep performing, he’ll take you to wherever you want to go.
“It’s down to me to keep putting the performances in and put the hard work in with Peter.
“I learned a lot in my time in London with Jimmy Tibbs and his son, Mark, but I felt this was the time to come home.”
Cope is excited himself at the prospect of taking Vallily to the top of the cruiserweight division.
“The gym was buzzing already,” he said. “But now it’s got even better.
“Simon is a tremendous boxer and athlete and he can go a long way.
“He’s only had one fight as a professional so he’s still adapting to the pro game.
“But his potential is incredible and he’s been working very hard.”
Vallily had the opportunity to return to the South Bank gym where he rose from a raw talent to Great Britain’s elite squad amateur squad where he received the plaudit from GB performance director, Rob McCracken that he was “frighteningly good”.
He had been coached in Boro by experienced trainer Dennis Power, but Vallily believed a transfer to Hartlepool was vital.
“Dennis is a very good man and coach,” said the former GB champ, who is scheduled to box in Cardiff on August 17, when Nathan Cleverly defends his WBO light-heavyweight title against the unbeaten Sergey Kovalev.
“He’s been great to me over the years.
“But I felt I needed to come away from my comfort zone and Dennis was fine about me coming over here, there were no hard feelings.
“Me and Peter have gelled pretty quickly.
“I like the way he is pushing me – he’s very firm and he’s demanding that I fulfil my potential.
“He’s on my case about doing more running and training harder and I need that.”