One father has been hailed as a ‘super-dad’ by his boxing starlet daughter.
Single dad Billy Franks, 54, goes above and beyond to make sure his Olympic hopeful daughter Billie-Jean makes it to training at Larches and Savick boxing club in Preston.
The club has a gilded pedigree as 2015 welterweight Commonwealth gold medallist Scott Fitzgerald and world silver medallist Lisa Whiteside also train at the club.
And the 16-year-old, from Blackpool, hailed her dad ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday for helping her in her quest to follow in the talented duo’s footsteps and for shipping her back and forth to both Preston and Kirkham for top calibre training.
She said: “Boxing would never have been possible if my dad had not given up so much of his time to take me.
“We spend a lot of time together and he gives me great feedback after training. My dad volunteers to take me to training almost every day.
Boxing would never have been possible if my dad had not given up so much of his time to take me.Billie-Jean
“So I would say that he is pretty dedicated! As soon as he finishes work, he comes home, has a coffee, gets his coat on and leaves with me to the train station. It’s a 30mile round trip to Kirkham or Preston and sometimes we do both in the same day.”
But Billy says all the blood, sweat, and toil to ensure Billie-Jean gets the best chance at making it is all worth it.
He said: “Even though we have travelled thousands of miles on trains, walked for miles in the cold and rain, I will never for one second regret doing it.
“It has changed my life and it has most certainly changed Billie-Jean’s life forever.
“I am 100 per cent certain that she will one day win an Olympic medal, I just pray that I’m still around to see it happen.”
When Billy first took Billie-Jean to a box-fit class 19 months ago she was a shy teenager.
But since taking up the sport the youngster has come out of shell.
And Billy is overjoyed to see the positive impact boxing has had on his daughter.
He said: “She really enjoyed doing it and I could see the change in her – she just loved punching the bags.
“From there, she joined the local boxing club and has never looked back. She has made friends with many people and is a totally different girl.
“Seeing what an amazing effect boxing has had on Billie-Jean makes me so happy for her, my motivation comes from knowing that she is on course for a very bright and happy future.
“Helping Billie-Jean with her boxing gives me something to focus on. Bringing her up on my own since she was six years old, I have not had much of a social life and didn’t get to meet many people, so it has helped me a lot meeting people in boxing circles.”