Last night the All Party Parliamentary Boxing Group joined forces with Channel 4 and Perfect Motion to host “I Prevent a Riot”, which marked the launch of a new forthcoming documentary highlighting the valuable role that boxing can play in young people’s lives.
‘Glory Road’ follows the journeys of three other young boxers over one thousand days in the run up to the London 2012 Games. Due to be broadcast in July, the documentary will be a timely reminder of the role of boxing in inspiring and motivating young people who may otherwise have taken the wrong path through life. Director Steve Read outlined what drove him to make the documentary, concluding that “boxing deserves a place at sport’s top table”.
Five-time ABAE champion and Olympic medal hope Natasha Jonas, who features in the documentary, spoke about how she came into the sport and gave an account of her journey from being an injured footballer to qualification for Team GB.
Members of Fitzroy Lodge ABC in Lambeth described how an involvement in boxing, and particularly the club environment, had played a stabilising role in their lives. “If I wasn’t at Fitzroy Lodge,” said one member, “I don’t like to think where I would be.”
The Chief Executive of the Amateur Boxing Association of England, Mark Abberley, commented that while the evening was a celebration of the success of amateur boxing, the sport nevertheless has some significant challenges to overcome. Referring to the pressures facing clubs across the country, he called on funding routes to be made more accessible and less bureaucratic.
Speaking on behalf of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Andy Reed outlined the task ahead in terms of convincing the government that funding amateur sports clubs delivers a social return on investment. Admitting to having previously been sceptical of boxing, he recalled how as an MP he had helped establish new clubs having seen first hand the transformational role that they can play.
Luke Dowdney, the Founder and Director of ‘Fight for Peace’, described the work that he began in Rio de Jinero twelve years ago, working with young people in communities affected by violence. Describing his organisation’s ‘Five Pillars’ methodology, Luke described the effectiveness of combining boxing and martial arts with educational and personal development programmes. Fight for Peace now has an academy in East London and is working with a range of organisations around the world to share their successful approach.
Responding to the points raised, Home Office Minister Nick Herbert MP told the audience that he had been keen to take part not just as a Minister but as a fan of boxing, and assured those present that he would take away the messages that had come through strongly throughout the course of the evening.
Glory Road (w/t) will be broadcast on Channel 4 in July. Fore more information visit http://gloryroad.tv.