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Joshua, others in race to save boxing clubs from COVID-19 trap


Anthony Joshua is backing a parliamentary campaign for funds to save grassroots boxing from being wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. The world heavyweight champion is one of several leading fighters, including his potential future challenger Joe Joyce and Hitman legend Ricky Hatton, who are signatories to an appeal to rescue the amateur game from extinction.

Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn are among leading promoters, as well British Boxing Board of Control general secretary Robert Smith, in pleading for financial rescue for bankrupt clubs, gyms and failing youth development programmes.

Distinguished former Minister of Sport Lord Moynihan is another expressing ‘disappointment’ to his current Conservative successor Nigel Huddlestone that boxing was omitted from the £300 million aid package for support given in November.


Joshua, whose fame and fortune had its foundations in his gold medal triumph at the London Olympics, has made substantial private donations to youth and amateur boxing.

So have Warren and Hearn, while Hatton is helping as many young boxers as possible under Covid protocols at his Manchester gym, in company with his son Campbell who has just turned professional.

Very few gyms or clubs can afford to operate under such strict restrictions and many have gone under. Amateur boxing has come to a total standstill since the first pandemic lockdown, with no tournaments taking place.

Joshua has joined in voicing his ‘concern that many clubs will never reopen and that the supply of amateurs for future GB Boxing Olympic teams will dry up.’

The letter, from Labour MP Chris Evans as chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Boxing which will be delivered on Friday, also stresses: ‘Boxing clubs are a vital part of our nation’s social fabric. Forty percent of them are located in the top 20 percent of the most deprived areas of the UK and have limited access to external funding.

“They provide pastoral and educational support, tackle criminal activity and anti-social behaviour as well as developments in physical and mental well-being.

“Their closure would leave a huge void in many communities and it is essential that government provides equitable funding for boxing in 2012.’
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