ASH BASH WILLIAMS
Ashley (Ash) John Williams was born in Bridgend, Wales in 1991. Ash is a professional soldier serving with the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and trains with the British Army Boxing Team.
In 2012 Ash was selected to represent Wales at the amateur Olympic Gloves tournament in Estonia. There he reached the final, but lost to English fighter Jack Bateson. In 2013 Ash was again selected by the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association to again represent Wales in the 49 kg category at the Popenchenko Memorial tournament in Moscow. In the semi-final Ash beat Basyzbev Baratov of Russia before beating his Scottish counterpart 3-0 in the final. As well as taking the gold in Moscow he was awarded the best technical boxer of the tournament. Leading into the amateur World Championships Ash was awarded the Howard Winstone Challenge Belt, an annual prize that recognises up-and-coming amateur boxers.
In May 2014 Ash was named as the light flyweight entry for the Wales boxing team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Ash was also chosen as the squad captain for the team, despite the initial line-up of eleven fighters including a defending Commonwealth champion (Sean McGoldrick) and Olympic silver medalist (Fred Evans). Ash went on to win a bronze medal for Wales at the games, a huge achievement.
On returning from the Commonwealth Games, Ash returned to his unit and began to feel deflated with less motivation than he had previous to the games which affected him badly. Ash began to get involved with Veterans In Action‘s new project, ALIVE Amateur Boxing Club on almost the first day of opening and was a real inspiration to others but was still struggling inside. In January 2017 he made the decision to try and achieve another huge challenge which was to be part of the Welsh Boxing Team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and started training full time at ALIVE ABC and with the British Army Boxing Team who he works with most days.
Ash trains at ALIVE ABC whenever he gets the chance and helps out with training the junior boxers who attend and recently gave an inspirational talk to the junior members ranging from 4 years old to 15 on how he was bullied at school which inspired him into taking up boxing and how this changed his life. Ash also helps train the senior members in techniques along with the full time ALIVE ABC coaches, SSgt Chris Milligan and SSgt Tony Russell both serving soldiers with 26 Engineer regiment, Royal Engineers.
Ash Said: “Veterans In Action’s ALIVE ABC has given me a sense of belonging again and I feel part of a family which has really helped with my confidence and self-belief“.
To help support Ash’s dream of a place in the Commonwealth Games representing Wales he lacked some good equipment and Veterans In Action set up an appeal for him to get new boxing boots, groin and head guards and boxing gloves and funds started coming in and a corporate sponsor, Gerald Taylor Decorating which has helped him with nutrition needs which is one of the largest expenses he has on a day to day basis. This appeal is still open and if you feel you would like to donate then you can do so on this link http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=BILLYMACLEOD&pageUrl=3
Ash recently took part in the British Amateur Boxing Championships winning a sliver medal and was supported by his family who were all wearing shirts that were printed by Veterans In Action‘s project, Made by Veterans. This competition was really important for Ash’s dream of once more being included in the Welsh Boxing Programme for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and winning a silver medal gave him a real fighting chance of achieving his dream.
Veterans In Action are incredibly proud to announce that Ash has been accepted onto the Welsh Boxing Programme for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. This is all down to the hard work and dedication to the sport of boxing by Ash and the support of his family, the British Army Boxing Team and all at ALIVE ABC.
Veterans In Action Chief Operations Officer, Billy MacLeod said, “Ash is the most humble person I have ever met, he has achieved great things and through that he inspires others around him. After his huge achievements at the last Commonwealth Games Ash went into a dark place which is similar to what we see with the veterans we work with and we have helped him through ALIVE ABC to find the drive and support he felt he lacked, we look forward to watching Ash’s progress in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and we are behind him all the way and hope we can raise some more funds for him to help achieve his aims“.