A BOXING coach who has sparred with the legendary Joe Calzaghe is in the running for a top award.

Mark Field has been nominated in the coach of the year category of the Flintshire Sports Personality of the Year awards having spent the past 15 years helping hundreds of boxers thrive at the popular Buckley ABC club.

The nomination came as he launches what he hopes is a successful bid to land a professional coaching licence.

“It is an honour both for myself and for the club to be nominated,” said Mark, 45.

“I am hopeful of being successful in becoming a pro coach, which would again be great for the club.”

Originally from Chester, Mark moved to North Wales to pursue his boxing career and now lives in Connah’s Quay.

His children, Katrina and Jack, are both established boxers and also coach at the

Mark’s own boxing talents were such that he was on the verge of joining the professional ranks at the age of 30 before fate intervened.

He said: “I was about to turn professional and was sparring with Joe Calzaghe but when it came to my medical they found a cyst on my skull.

“I didn’t know anything about it and that meant I couldn’t turn pro.”

Rather than bringing Mark’s boxing dream to an end it led to him taking over the long-established Buckley ABC and passing on his skills.

Mark, who combines his boxing coaching with working full-time as a psychiatric nurse at Bowmere Hospital, Chester, is now looking for the club to obtain its own premises which he believes will benefit the whole Buckley community.

“Elfed Sports Centre have been great to us,” he added, “but moving into our own place will allow us to open all week and become a proper community facility.

“With the London 2012 Olympics coming up this is a great time to develop sporting facilities. There is not a great amount for kids to do in Buckley and we are keen to be as involved in the Buckley community as possible.”

Mark will be joined at the Sports Personality of the Year awards by one of his star boxers, nine-year-old Kyle Andrews, who has been nominated in the Junior Sportsman category.

“Kyle is an excellent example of someone who has thrived through coming here,” said Mark.

“He has developed a lot in his time with us and the younger kids look up to him.”