Joshua pledges support for grass roots clubs

December 22, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua OBE has today announced he is to give substantial financial backing to a number of England Boxing member clubs, along those in Wales and Scotland, to support grass roots boxing.

The money will be distributed directly to those clubs most in need of support via England Boxing, with an agreement in place that all funding is ring-fenced for clubs only.

The move comes in an effort to help the sport, which he says has given him so much, survive arguably the toughest period in its history.

Many clubs, who are the heart of their respective communities and have a proven record of helping adults and children cope with physical and mental struggles, have been hit heart by enforced closures at various points during 2020 because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Joshua’s amateur schooling came at Finchley ABC, where he claimed national titles at Elite level in both 2010 and 2011 at over 91kg (super heavyweight).

He went on to win gold at the 2012 London Olympics before turning professional and becoming a household name.

The WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion has also taken the opportunity to financially contribute to Finchley, and gifted new training kit.

Joshua’s wider financial support will be bolstered by major partner Under Armour, who have offered to match his backing through the supply of their products.

Funding will be distributed in a similar manner to the Tackling Inequalities Fund, which was supported by Sport England and run in the autumn.

“Boxing helped shaped me, both physically and mentally,” he said. “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 grass roots clubs and do what I can to keep the lights on to those most in need.

“I would like to thank England Boxing and the associations in 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.”

Gethin Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of England Boxing, said: “We are delighted to receive and 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% of our clubs operate in the highest 20% of marginalised areas in the country.

“We will announce how clubs can access this funding in the coming days and we know it will be gratefully received by the membership so thanks once again for this vital support.”