23 November 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan is taking further steps to improve the welfare of fighters with the launch of his first Boxing Academy.
The Clones Cyclone, who in 1985 became WBA featherweight champion, launched the educational and sporting programme in Leicester on Saturday. It is hoped the Academy will help up and coming boxers to achieve and excel in their academic and sporting goals. McGuigan has previously worked at the forefront of boxers rights with his involvement in the Professional Boxers Association.
The timely launch of the Academy comes on the back of reports, in both Britain and Ireland, of an upsurge in the number of participants in the sport. This has seen a number of British schools including boxing in their PE programmes. The resurgence has also surely been helped by the successes of British and Irish boxers at both amateur and professional level.
A changing mindset among boxings opponents has also been noted typified by the outlook of British MP Tessa Jowell.
“Twelve years ago I considered boxing almost too dangerous to be considered as a mainstream sport,” she said.
“I was public health minister and the British Medical Association quite regularly at that time called for boxing to be banned. (Now) It reaches young people that other sports don’t.
“In my own constituency, it’s probably the number one sport that young people want to do. It gives them self-esteem, it gets rid of aggression, yet at the same time is a highly disciplined sport.”
For more information log on to www.barrymcguiganacademy.co.uk