Bader Grant Recipient, Rob Franks writes below about his experiences of Wheelchair Boxing.
We were delighted to be able to support Rob with his dream to compete in Wheelchair Boxing. He has already achieved so much and has the Bader spirit in spades. Sir Douglas himself enjoyed boxing and we feel sure that he’d be fully behind Rob’s ambitions and cheering him on all the way.
Wheelchair Boxing is relatively unknown but Rob wants to change that situation and bring the sport he loves and the benefits it offers to the attention of as many people as possible.
Read on for Rob’s story. All links will be found beneath the post.
My name is Rob Franks I’m 41 years old above the knee amputee from Poole, Dorset and I’m married to my lovely wife Carla and I have 2 children.
I am an adaptive boxer, I box from a sports wheelchair, my nickname is “one legged warrior“.
Wheelchair boxing is a relative new sport and one that ticks all the boxes (excuse the pun).
I fell in to wheelchair boxing by complete accident, 8 weeks ago I was approached by a lovely lady called Stella Payne who asked me if I was interested in being the music DJ for a boxing event on the 28th march, the event is called “Box Beats Cancer” and the event is to raise money for the Youth Cancer Trust. I messaged back and said how about I don’t do the music and I fight instead?
What I didn’t say immediately was that I’m an amputee, once I told her she asked me to go along to a training session.
I met up with Stella and all the other competitors and also the coaches, the lead coach is Marc Smith and he said he could possibly match me with another amputee from Newcastle, I was over the moon, I had to prove I was able to defend myself in a wheelchair as it’s all very different to boxing on two legs.
Thankfully I have played a fair amount of wheelchair sports so it didn’t take too long to get used to it. The hardest part was wheeling in boxing gloves and the fact when you hit someone the chair goes backwards.
Marc Smith is now my personal coach and a very good friend and we are working hard to get me ready for my debut fight on the 28th March in Bournemouth.
We train on a Tue and Thursday and I have a 1-2-1 session with Marc during the week as well.
The group we train with are a fantastic bunch, I was a little worried about meeting everyone as they are all able bodied and I was the only one who has a disability but they have taken to me like any one else and that’s so refreshing to see.
We are all such good friends and that in itself is superb.
After the event on the 28th we have many plans to compete further and encourage others to join this amazing sport.
I am also doing “an evening with” talk on the 11th March at Roxy’s Cafe in Bournemouth where I will talk about my journey.
I can’t thank enough the Douglas Bader Foundation who have given me a grant which has allowed me to purchase a sports wheelchair. Without the grant I wouldn’t be able to complete after the 28th but now I can and the world is our oyster.
This will allow me to compete in the event in March and to compete in the future.
I can’t say enough how amazing wheelchair boxing will help so many athletes with disabilities, a lot don’t realise what they can achieve and I am making it my goal to show everyone what they can and will achieve.
I have a Facebook page called – Rob Franks – the one legged warrior, amputee boxer, the link is below……
Also I am raising vital money for the youth cancer Trust so if anyone can donate a few pence it would be much appreciated. The link to that is below……
I am also delighted to say that I have been nominated for the very prestigious award positive role model (disability) at the national diversity awards 2020. If you feel I deserve to win please can you vote for me on the below link.
Click on this link to see a video of Rob training
All at the Douglas Bader Foundation wish Rob the best of luck in his fundraising bout for ‘Box Beats Cancer’ in aid of the Youth Cancer Trust on the 28th March. You’ll smash it, Rob!