England Boxing celebrates first anniversary of Empire Fighting Chance partnership

May 22, 2023 | by Matt Halfpenny


England Boxing and Empire Fighting Chance are celebrating the first anniversary of their transformational partnership, which offers amateur boxing clubs free training and ongoing support to transform the lives of young people in their communities.

Since the partnership began in March 2022, 21 clubs across England, from Newcastle to Newquay, have joined the Powered by Empire Fighting Chance network

The aim of the partnership is to transform the lives of young people in towns and cities across England by offering a proven solution to fighting youth violence and helping those with mental health problems.

Empire Fighting Chance delivers a two-day training course to clubs to showcase their journey from a traditional amateur boxing club into one of the UK’s largest boxing charities.

The training covers a range of key topics, including their flagship Box Champions programme, psychology, operations management, community engagement, school sales, data collection, and impact monitoring.

Each boxing club leaves with a bespoke action plan that is guided through ongoing support from a dedicated Growth and Development Manager, visits from a sports psychologist and other professionals, access to resources, and refresher training.

The latest cohort of five boxing clubs completed their free training course at Empire’s inner-city Bristol gym in March 2023, including coaches and staff from Boxing Clever in Milton Keynes, Atlas Boxing in Leicester, East Middlesbrough,Tyneside Boxing in Newcastle, and Birch Green ABC in Skelmersdale.

Between March 2022 and March 2023, the project has worked with 3,875 young people across all regions of the country.

“The first year of our partnership with England Boxing has far exceeded our expectations,” said Co-Founder of Empire Fighting Chance, Jamie Sanigar. “The enthusiasm and dedication shown by boxing clubs during training days has been truly inspiring.

“We are now starting to see clubs’ action plans delivering real impact in their communities. The Powered by Empire Fighting Chance network of 21 boxing clubs is now a collaborative effort to tackle youth violence and mental health across the nation and it will only go from strength to strength.”

As the partnership enters its second year, Empire Fighting Chance will develop their offering and better their practice through learnings and feedback from their partner clubs.

The continued partnership will see boxing clubs benefit from further online workshops, access to innovations of the Box Champions programme, refresher delivery training sessions, personalised gym visits and practice sharing with the community of clubs.

Alex Le Guevel, England, Boxing Club Support Officer and lead on Empire Fighting Chance club recruitment said, added: “England Boxing’s partnership with Empire Fighting Chance continues to go from strength to strength.

“As we mark one year since our first cohort attended in-person training, 21 clubs have now benefitted from the tutelage and expertise that Empire provide, with many now seeing a tangible impact to the work their able to deliver in their host communities

“I would urge any boxing clubs interested in taking part in the programme to do so, without hesitation.”

Talk N Train, a project in Rotherham run jointly by members of Millennium Boxing and Dinnington Community Boxing attended training with Empire Fighting Chance training in June 2022.

Since then, the project has gone from strength to strength, working with over 150 local young people in the past year. The project is now accessing funding pots to enable them to reach larger numbers of young people by hiring more coaches and running more sessions.

Ian Huddleston from Dinnington Community Boxing said: “Since partnering with Empire, we have been successful in securing funding, which Empire have supported with, and we have taken inspiration from Empire’s psychology to improve our programmes for young people. It has helped us transform our delivery and offering in our community”.

Milton Keynes-based Boxing Clever attended training with Empire in March 2023. They were looking for ways to improve their existing successful programmes which address issues such as youth violence and exploitation through boxing and mentoring.

The club now works with over 90 referred young people a week at their gym and in local schools alongside their usual amateur club sessions. Their success recently drew the attention of Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who visited the club in April.

Empire Fighting Chance aims to reach a further 1,500 young people through partner clubs before the end of 2023 and will host their fifth training cohort in Bristol in September.

If your club is interested in partnering with Empire Fighting Chance to change young lives in your area, complete an expression of interest form, or contact Aaron Morten, Empire’s Growth and Development Manager, via: aaron@empirefightingchance.org