The popularity of boxing in the U.K is growing. Remember Anthony Joshua’s dramatic stopping of Wladimir Klitschko in 2017? My goosebumps are yet to settle.
However, the public’s growing intrigue of the sport is not confined to the glitz and glamour of blockbuster bouts.
But also what it provides.
Take former world champion Frank Bruno, who last week opened a wellbeing centre. It’s aimed at using the sport to support those facing mental health issues. Other gyms are striving to support those afflicted by gang violence.
Hold on, there’s more.
A community like no other
Don’t be duped by highlight knock-out reels and stadium sell-outs.
Grass-roots gyms represent something far more profound–community.
England Boxing seems to agree. In 2020, they published a study named ‘EVALUATING the impact of BOXING CLUBS on their host COMMUNITIES’ (I read it so you don’t have to)
These gyms are a hotbed of colour and creed. It embraces men and women of all denominations. As articulated in England Boxing’s report, “we’ve got one religion here, it’s boxing.”
Need a routine? Boxing’s got you!
The power of routine accommodates all manner of motivations.
Reggie Hagland, Manager of Islington Boxing Club, gave me a few: “Whether [routine helps] to lose weight, stop bullying or become the next Anthony Joshua, it’s not a one size suits all.”
Enter Covid: the ghost at the feast. Routine dealt a brutal left hook.
Fun fact – of the £300m of funding for sports in England granted in November 2020: Boxing didn’t receive a nickel.
Boxing can change lives
Around the country, these gyms are combining the sweet science with supporting those affected by mental health issues and gang crime. Don’t view them solely as a breeding ground for boxers.
Their purpose transcends sport. It refocuses and educates. And for many, the boxing gym is a second home.
Written and edited by Louis Regan