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Brighton Journal | 10th December 2019

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“It’s boxing but not as you know it” – The Safer Boxing Programme

“It’s boxing but not as you know it” – The Safer Boxing Programme
Lauren Nicolle

The World Boxing Council (WBC) is running a ‘Safer Boxing Programme’ to give people affected by disability confidence, freedom and the chance to stay active.

Yesterday the World Boxing Council (WBC) teamed up with Blind Veterans UK to provide visually impaired veterans with the chance to take part in a day long boxing class.

The boxing classes focus on technical skills particularly defence tactics, footwork and blocking attacking strikes. Participants were also given a talk on sport and nutrition.

Scott Welch, 51, is a former professional heavyweight boxing champion and has run the Brighton and Hove boxing gym for over 20 years. He is also the acting Chairman of WBC UK.

Welch shared:  “Our Safer Boxing Programme aims to benefit both the physical and mental health of our participants’

“We’ve adapted the traditional rules of boxing to create a boxing programme which focuses it’s teaching towards defence and blocking tactics.”

Welch was joined by Matthew Ethrington, 28, who is head trainer on the programme.

Ethrington said: “The Safer Boxing Programme allows us to work with people of all ages and abilities’

“The programme opens a door of opportunity to people who have felt they wouldn’t ever be able to take part in boxing.”

The programme strives for inclusivity and helps people stay active, focused and disciplined.

Shaun Gregory was one of the participants at the 6 hour event.

Gregory said: “It’s a great way to improve your fitness and mental health but this has also helped to give me another interest and hobby. It’s given me more self-confidence… I cannot praise it enough.”

34-year-old Richard Phinbow co-runs the programme with Welch and Ethrington. Phinbow has a rehabilitation background and is a specialist sports trainer.

Phinbow expressed how the boxing classes provide the veterans with an on-going challenge.

He said: “It’s great to be able to give these people, regardless of age a drive and a focus and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

One key aim of the programme is to eventually start up an ‘inter-generational buddy scheme’ where older members can pass on their life experience and knowledge to younger members.

Chiming in Ethrington added: “The way the adaptive boxing programme has been designed means it’s suitable for any individual affected by any physical disabilities to take part.”

WBC Cares UK will hold quarterly events at the Brighton and Hove boxing gym as well as a training session once a month.

Roan Webb was another veteran to taking part in the event.

Webb praised the event stating: “Just after today’s session all of our boxing has become more advantageous… I would say to anyone who could join a club like this to take part.”

 

To find out more about the WBC Cares UK and the work they do please visit wbccaresuk.org.

To find out more about Blind Veterans UK and to sign yourself or someone you know up to the programme, please visit blindveterans.org.uk.

 

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