Whilst fighting for glory is the core aim of any World Series of Boxing (WSB) Franchise, it is not their only ambition.
Many teams within the competition seek partnerships with various organisations, and the GB Franchise, British Lionhearts has numerous partners including the Home Nations of England, Scotland and Wales, and UK Sports.
Most recently, the London Mayor’s Office has lent support to promote home matches at the iconic York Hall in Bethnal Green with the realisation that boxing has the potential to reach into communities, homes and hearts so that dreams can be reignited and communities strengthened.
In front of a full house at York Hall this past weekend during Britain’s match with Mexico Guerreros, one such initiative, The Boxing Academy, demonstrated their work and success.
The Boxing Academy is a unique and groundbreaking school which works with the most difficult-to-reach young people in North and East London.
It is the last chance for children who have failed in mainstream education and helps them turn their lives around using the discipline and ethos of boxing.
The project offers a full-time educational placement consisting of GCSE qualifications alongside life skills, personal development programmes and boxing sessions, giving the students the chance to work through their issues and end their negative pattern of behaviour.
Speaking to a WSB representative after the fixture, Richard Powers from England Boxing said “it was great seeing the young students from the academy have an opportunity to showcase their hard work at the WSB event at York Hall. We are looking forward to working with WSB around community engagement in London.”
A dedicated team of qualified teachers and mentors helps the Academy achieve its success, and each class of eight students has a boxer who provides support, mentoring, guidance and challenges each student to aim high.
After first setting up in 2007, the concept has a fantastic track record of re engaging and motivating students to complete their education, while a successful journey for a Boxing Academy student will result in the achievement of GCSEs, and to gain a place at the college of their choice, or an apprenticeship.
Over 90% of its leavers are still in employment or education today, and the Academy’s impact in reducing the frequency and impact of behaviour problems can be felt outside the immediate outcomes for the students, with proven benefits for families, schools and communities.
The unique and ground-breaking method has attracted praise and recognition in many fields, most recently in December 2014 when the Boxing Academy received the inaugural Pride of Sport award from the Daily Mirror and Sport England for “Community Sport Project of the Year 2014”.
At the next Lionhearts home match against Ukraine, there will be more initiatives highlighted for their good work, and on the day of the match, there will be opportunities for young and old to get in the ring!
(*) Photo: Justin Setterfield