Anthony Joshua makes ‘substantial’ donation to amateur boxing clubs on their knees during coronavirus crisis – with heavyweight champion urging government to rethink funding before ‘stars of tomorrow are lost’
- Boxing has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic financially this year
- Amateur scene in particular is suffering and Anthony Joshua is doing his bit
- World heavyweight champion has made ‘substantial’ donation to help
- Money has gone to amateur governing bodies in England, Wales and Scotland
Anthony Joshua has created a rescue package for struggling amateur boxing clubs that are under threat of closure because of the pandemic.
The grassroots of the sport are facing a desperate crisis because of restrictions that have largely been in place since the first lockdown in March.
Sportsmail revealed last week that London-based Repton, the oldest club in the country, has taken only £140 in member subscriptions in that time.
Anthony Joshua has a deep love and appreciation for amateur boxing and made a donation
Repton Boxing club has only taken £140 in new memberships and is among those struggling
Joshua, who came through at Finchley ABC before becoming the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world champion, has now made what has been described by his team as a ‘substantial’ financial donation to the national amateur governing bodies in England, Wales and Scotland. Joshua also called on the government to step in and do more.
He said: ‘Boxing helped shaped me, both physically and mentally. It is no secret that without boxing and the family created around my amateur gym, my life could have been very different.
‘The sport has given me a lot and I want to help highlight the issues effecting grassroots clubs and do what I can to keep the lights on for those most in need.
‘I would like to thank the federations of England, Wales and Scotland for their support in helping facilitate how the financial aid reaches the most effected clubs in their regions and also agreeing to make sure the money goes directly to clubs.
‘I am not using this as an opportunity to criticise government for its lack of funding towards boxing, these are unprecedented times, however I would like to use my platform to respectfully ask them to rethink their stance. Without support we will lose community hubs and potentially the stars of tomorrow.’
Joshua rose to prominence in the amateur game and won Olympic gold for Great Britain
Gethin Jenkins, the chairman of England Boxing, said: ‘We thank Anthony for this much needed financial support and for drawing attention to the role and support the clubs offer in their local communities and with it the need for greater government support to grass root boxing clubs.
‘This is all the more so, given that 40 per cent of our clubs operate in the highest 20 per cent of marginalised areas in the country.’
Colin Metson, the chief executive of Welsh Boxing, added: ‘Our clubs have suffered significantly during the year, with the restrictions caused by the pandemic causing extensive disruption and loss of gym time, plus the inability to run club shows which generates vital income for the clubs.
AJ (right) knocked out Kubrat Pulev earlier this month and has been thanked for his donation
‘The news of Mr Joshua’s support will be a welcome tonic to our clubs at a time of real need, particularly those clubs in more socially deprived areas.’
Kevin Bell, Boxing Scotland chairman, said: ‘It is to Anthony’s great credit that he recognises the impact of COVID-19 on amateur boxing, from loss of training among boxers to the inability to host shows that sustain clubs financially.
It is also the hallmark of a true world and Olympic champion that he has proactively sought to help amateur boxing – which he acknowledges played a significant role in his career.’